Witch Marks

New for 2019. Hundreds of protective marks, also known as Witches Marks, have been discovered at Creswell Crags. This is believed to be the largest collection ever found in the UK. Join our tour guide for a unique opportunity to discover the most recent secret revealed at Creswell Crags. Read about our Witch Mark discovery here.

Witch marks at Creswell Crags

What are Witch Marks?

Ritual Protection Marks
Commonly known as Witch Marks these Apotropaic marks, from the Greek apotrepein, meaning ‘to turn away’, are most commonly found carved on stone or woodwork near a building’s doorways, windows and fireplaces, to protect inhabitants and visitors from evil spirits.

A few have been recorded at Shakespeare’s Birthplace and spotted in medieval barns like the Bradford-on-Avon Tithe Barn, where they were etched into the ancient timber to protect crops.

“the largest assemblage of protective marks ever found in British caves, and possibly anywhere in Britain”

Academic and TV presenter, Professor Ronald Hutton, an authority on folklore, says:

“This discovery is significant because it looks like the largest assemblage of protective marks ever found in British caves, and possibly anywhere in Britain. This is a suddenly a large new area of research for historians and archaeologists, and so adds appreciatively to the importance of the Crags as a world resource. This is a hugely important and exciting find, in one of the main current growth areas of knowledge about the past. Creswell Crags has already amazed the twenty-first century with its revelations of Palaeolithic designs. Now it does so again with a fresh one of medieval and early modern ritual protection marks on a huge scale, making a very important contribution, at a stroke, to one of the most significant current areas of new scholarly research.”

Duncan Wilson OBE, Chief Executive of Historic England said of the discovery:

“Creswell Crags is already of international importance for its Ice Age art and ancient remains.  To find this huge number of protection marks from the more recent past adds a whole new layer of discovery.  Even two hundred years ago the English countryside was a very different place, death and disease were everyday companions and evil forces could readily be imagined in the dark.  One can only speculate on what it was the people of Creswell feared might emerge from the underworld into these caves.”

Witch marks at Creswell Crags

Book a Cave Tour

 

Life In The Ice Age Cave Tour

Join an expert guide on a tour of Robin Hood Cave, the largest of all the caves at Creswell Crags. Discover what Creswell Crags was like during the last Ice Age. Who was here? What was here? What were they doing? How do we know? Find out the answers to these questions and many more in a fascinating tour that lasts about an hour.

Term Time:   
Monday – Friday: 3pm
Saturday & Sunday: 11am, 1pm & 3pm

School Holidays: Every Day: 11am, 1pm & 3pm*

*During the first week of the Sheffield Easter Holidays (30 March - 3 April) there will only be Life in the Ice Age Tours at 11am and 1pm.

Term Time

School Holidays

1 – 14 February

24 February – 29 March

20 April – 22 May

1 June – 24 July

1 September – 16 October

15 – 23 February

30 March – 19 April

23 – 31 May

25 July – 31 August

17 – 31 October

Tour times for November & December to be confirmed.

 

 

 

 

Rock Art Cave Tour

This is your chance to see Britain's only Ice Age Rock Art, which was discovered by archaeologists in 2003. These engravings of animals and abstract designs are 13,000 years old, making Church Hole Cave the oldest art gallery in the country.

Term Time:   
Monday – Friday: 12pm
Saturday & Sunday: 11.30am, 1.30pm & 3.30pm

School Holidays: Every Day: 11.30am, 1.30pm & 3.30pm*

*During the first week of the Sheffield Easter Holidays (30 March - 3 April) there will only be one Rock Art Tour at 12pm.

Term Time

School Holidays

14 – 29 March

20 April – 22 May

1 June – 24 July

1 September – 16 October

30 March – 19 April

23 – 31 May

25 July – 31 August

 

Rock Art Tours do not run in November & December due to bats roosting

 

 

 

 

 

WITCH MARK TOUR

Hundreds of protective marks, known as Witch Marks, have been discovered at Creswell Crags. This is believed to be the largest collection ever found in the UK. Join our tour guide for a unique opportunity to discover the most recent secret revealed at Creswell Crags

Term Time:   Saturday & Sunday: 12pm & 2pm

School Holidays: Every Day: 12pm & 2pm

*During the first week of the Sheffield Easter Holidays (30 March - 3 April) there will only be one Witch Marks Tour at 2pm.

Term Time

School Holidays

1 – 14 February

24 February – 29 March

20 April – 22 May

1 June – 24 July

1 September – 16 October

15 – 23 February

30 March – 19 April

23 – 31 May

25 July – 31 August

17 – 31 October

Tour times for November & December to be confirmed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HYENA'S DEN TOUR

Dare you explore deep into the hyena's den? Learn the story of Eric, our baby Hyena skeleton that was unearthed after 42000 years in the ground, right here at the Crags! Explore his home, Pin Hole Cave, and see live archaeology still in situ!

Term Time:   Saturday & Sunday: 11.45am & 1.45pm

School Holidays: Every Day: 11.45am & 1.45pm

*During the first week of the Sheffield Easter Holidays (30 March - 3 April) there will only be one Hyena’s Den Tour at 3pm.

Term Time

School Holidays

14 – 29 March

20 April – 22 May

1 June – 24 July

1 - 30 September

30 March – 19 April

23 – 31 May

25 July – 31 August

 

Hyena Den tours do not run in October, November & December due to bats roosting..

 

 

Tours are popular so please call our visitor centre on 01909 720378 in advance to check availability, book a tour, and avoid disappointment.

See Eventbrite for details of any additional special tours