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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Amber © 2000 Bolton Museum and Art Gallery


Amber pebble imported to Creswell Crags possibly during the Palaeolithic to Creswell Crags ?Robin Hood Cave. Fossilised tree resin

Two accounts describe amber found at Creswell Crags. Rooke Pennington in his book (1877) Notes on the Barrows and Bone-caves of Derbyshire writes '.. I have in my possession, from one of these [Creswell] caves…a piece of amber..'. This is thought to be the piece of amber referred to. Magens Mello writing in 1879 also mentions '..a piece of amber found in the Robin Hood Cave..'. It is not clear whether both authors are referring to the same item. Mello thought that the amber had been imported to Creswell Crags during the Palaeolithic. There is an enormous folk-lore attached to amber, particularly as to its origins and its protective properties against various illnesses. As recently as the 19th century it was used as a salve for wounds, so its presence at Creswell might have been medicinal.

The present day sources for this amber pebble would be either the Baltic or the east coast of England. Amber from these two sources cannot be distinguished as they have the same origin and are derived from the same geological horizon. During the Palaeolithic the geography of eastern Britain was very different. Lowered sea levels created dry land between Britain and Europe at the southern end of the North Sea with a coastline to the north of the Dogger Bank. This coastline may well have been its source. Palaeolithic people could cover an enormous territory, even during the course of a single lifetime, and it is possible that groups visiting Creswell Crags were at some time at an amber bearing source. Alternatively, this amber could have been passed between human groups as an exchange item.

Glossary: Palaeolithic