Exhibition Objects

Welcome to Exploring Objects. Here you can explore the rich collection of objects that have been unearthed from the Creswell Heritage Area. To find an object, type in the words that best describe what you are looking for and click ‘Search’

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A human skull  © 2000 The Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester

A human skull

Skull of boy from Mother Grundy’s Parlour. Iron Age, 2,000 years old

This skull of a young boy, 2-3 years of age, was found during excavations in Mother Grundy’s Parlour, Creswell Crags in 1878. The excavator was most probably Donald Knight. The skull has been dated to just over 2000 years old placing it within the Iron Age archaeological period. All of the human remains excavated from caves in the Creswell area and which have been radiocarbon dated clearly belong to the later prehistoric period well after the Last Cold Stage.

The excavation account by W.B. Dawkins and J.M. Mello is not detailed, but refers to ‘..the occurrence of fragments of four human skeletons, all belonging to children and youths..’ These were collected from a red sand which contained Pleistocene fauna but which it was felt had also been much disturbed ‘…by the burrowing of foxes, rabbits and badgers, and most probably by the hand of man..’. This skull, one of two, was found in Chamber B, a passage opening from the back of the cave. Here ‘..there were no obvious evidences of disturbance ..’. Nevertheless, Dawkins and Mello argued that the human remains were unlikely to be Pleistocene. A radiocarbon date of 2,210 ± 80 (OxA-1832) years ago confirms their interpretation. However, this skull has been heavily treated with preservatives and the radiocarbon date might be an undersestimate of its true age. Untreated human bone from Mother Grundy’s Parlour found in 1959 has been radiocarbon dated to the Early Bronze Age at 3,720 ± 80 years ago (OxA-4442). This is probably a more reliable age estimate for the human bone being deposited in the cave.

Glossary: Anatomically modern humans, Artefact, Assemblage, Backing, Biface, Blade, Bronze Age, Cordiform, Core, Cortex, Creswellian, Culture, Debitage, Early Upper Palaeolithic, Flake, Flake tool, Glacial, Hafting, Handaxe, Ice Age, Interglacial, Iron Age, Last Cold Stage, Late Upper Palaeolithic, Middle Palaeolithic, Neanderthal, Palaeolithic, Pleistocene, Radiocarbon, Retouch, Tool, Upper Palaeolithic