Joining in this week with Amy and Five on Friday. Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.
The village of Creswell and also Creswell Crags are in North East Derbyshire and not very far from the village I grew up in. Two other nearby attractions close to the village we lived in were Bolsover Castle and Hardwick Hall, and only a little further away was Clumber Park. Hard to think that all these were on my doorstep for the twenty five or so years that I lived in that part of the country.
Access to the Crags has changed so much in recent years. When I was a child we used to drive quite close to the caves as the road went through there - it has all been bypassed now and there are many more walks in the area. Creswell Crags is a Limestone Gorge honeycombed with caves and fissures where evidence of life in the last Ice Age, between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago, has been discovered and is interpreted in the Visitor Centre and Museum. There are about eight caves in all along the gorge some more accesible than others. As this post is for Five on Friday I'm going to introduce you to five of them.
1. Robin Hood Cave - this is the largest cave at Creswell Crags and there are four main chambers linked together by short passages. There have been many excavations in this cave in both the 19th and 20th centuries and many tools left there by Neanderthal people from between 60,000 and 40,000 years ago including flint scrapers and hand axes.
2. The Arch - Three caves in all make up the Arch or Lion's Mouth and many different animal bones have been found here including a reindeer bone with cut marks over 42,000 years old suggesting that Neanderthals were using the caves to butcher the animals they had captured.
3. Pin Hole - Neanderthals were the first people to use this cave as a shelter whilst hunting reindeer in the area. During the first excavation here the teeth of a young woolly mammoth were found.
4. Dog Hole - was first excavated by Robert Laing, a Newcastle doctor before 1889. None of the finds from this excavation have ever come to light but in the 1980s in spoil pits outside the cave many items were found. These included animal bones dating from the last ice age including hyenas, woolly rhinoceros, horse and reindeer. They also found a few flint tools. Finds from the nearby Dog Hole fissure caused by a landslide in 1978 have included bones from other animals like lynx, beaver and wild pig.
5. Mother Grundy's Parlour - has undergone many excavations over the years. One of the first people to dig in the cave was a local Creswell man whose wife dreamt that there was buried treasure in the cave. A hippopotamus tooth was found and offered for sale which prompted an excavation in 1878 by the Reverend Magens Mello and Professor W Boyd Dawkins.
Here is a - link - to the Creswell Crags website where you can find out more about each cave, the excavations that have taken place and see some of the artefacts found there.