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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Spotted hyaena droppings © 2000 Natural History Museum, London

Spotted hyaena droppings

Fossilised dung from Creswell Crags, Mother Grundy’s Parlour. Last Ice Age, 40,000 - 22,000 years old.

These four droppings from a spotted hyaena (Crocuta crocuta) were found during the Victorian excavations at Creswell Crags between 1875 and 1878. Droppings or coprolites from spotted hyaena mostly contain bone and are preserved like bone in the cave deposits. It is uncertain in which cave these coprolites were found, although Mother Grundy's Parlour is the most likely source for such well preserved and uncrushed specimens. Their age is unknown beyond that they date to either the last Interglacial or the middle of the Last Cold Stage.

The Slip Catalogue entry for these specimens in the Christy collection describes them as from Robin Hood Cave. However, no coprolites are mentioned in publications about this cave. The only Creswell cave from which Dawkins and Mello record their discovery is Mother Grundy's Parlour describing coprolites as '…very numerous, having been preserved by the dryness of the cavern…' as they excavated the red sand. They go on to say that '…in the other caverns, which were wet, they had been crushed out of shape into layers by the repeated trampling of the animals…'.

Glossary: Carnivore, Coprolite, Glacial, Ice Age, Interglacial, Last Cold Stage, Pleistocene

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