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Thu, 04 May 2023

Celebrating our Rock Art Annniversary

Thank you to everyone who helped us to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the discovery of Ice Age rock art at Creswell Crags this April





20 years ago, the first rock art dating to the Ice Age ever discovered in Britain was found at Creswell Crags. Carvings of animals and human figures created over 12,800 years ago were discovered in Church Hole by Dr. Paul Bahn, Professor Paul Pettitt and Professor Sergio Ripoll on 14th April 2003. This evidence made Creswell Crags one of the most significant prehistoric sites in the world.



To celebrate the anniversary of this amazing discovery with local communities and our wider audiences, Creswell Heritage Trust were able to organise a weekend of events with generous support from Lhoist.  Church Hole, which is only normally accessible through bookable cave tours, was open for people to drop in and ‘pay-what-they-could’, so that as many people as possible could view the rock art – more than 400 people did so over the weekend.




The Learning Team were in the Meadow with our Dig Boxes, to help families experience how archaeologists find out about life in the Ice Age. Children were also able to try their hand at creating their own piece of portable art.





 Curator Dr Angharad Jones organised a day of talks by international experts to highlight the ongoing research at Creswell Crags and across the UK, that is helping us understand more about our Ice Age ancestors. Dr. Paul Bahn was there to relive the day of the famous discovery, while Dr Izzy Wisher, Dr Barbara Oosterwijk and Dr Lisa-Elen Meyering shared the results of recent research, which used new digital technologies to capture the rock art. You can see some of their results here Creswell Crags Project (@CreswellCragsProject) - Sketchfab. Dr Rob Dinnis ended with a fascinating talk about his work looking for ancient DNA preserved in cave sediments. Other speakers included Ellie Clifford, Dr Kevin Kuykendal, Professor Andrew Chamberlain and our very own Dr Angharad Jones and Andrea Alias Sotos. Together they attracted an audience that filled our Education Rooms and an even larger online audience.




As a lasting commemoration of the Anniversary celebrations and to acknowledge the support of Lhoist, a Wild Cherry Tree was planted in the Meadow on 1st June by Adam Taylor, UK Operations Manager for Lhoist and his colleagues. Lhoist is a leading global company in lime, dolime and minerals, with a plant in Whitwell near to Creswell Crags. The tree will blossom each year around the time of the Anniversary, reminding us of the celebrations, whilst also providing food for the bees and other pollinators at Creswell Crags.


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There is so much more we could discover at Creswell Crags about our ancestors. We need your help to support ongoing research and conservation – please donate to our anniversary fundraising campaign if you can: