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 skull  © 2000 The Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester

Spotted hyaena skull

Skull of spotted hyaena from Pin Hole. Last Ice Age (Middle Devensian), 40,000-22,000 years old.

This magnificent skull of an adult spotted hyaena (Crocuta crocuta) was found about 2 metres (7') below the surface of the deposits and 20 metres (65') from the entrance of Pin Hole during excavations by A.L. Armstrong between 1924 and 1936. Spotted hyaenas were one of the major predators at Creswell Crags and denned in the caves during the middle part of the Last Cold Stage. Dating evidence indicates that during this time spotted hyaenas were active around Creswell from at least 40,000 up until as recently as 22,000 years ago.

This skull is representative of the abundant spotted hyaena populations which were preying on the woolly rhinoceros during the middle part of the Last Cold Stage. Spotted hyaenas are extremely important, being responsible for many of the larger bone accumulations and much of what we know of the animal populations at this time has come from the study of fossil spotted hyaena dens. The spotted hyaena is one of the few mammalian carnivores that actually eats bone and, as a consequence, their droppings are commonly preserved.

Glossary: Carnivore, Last Cold Stage

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