Creswell Crags, Derbyshire, England

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A steep‐sided gorge with numerous occupied caves and fissures opening into the cliffs on either side. Scientific interest in the caves began in the 1860s and soon yielded artefacts and faunal remains of the Upper Palaeolithic. It is now known that more than a dozen caves along the gorge were sporadically occupied between 10 000 and 8000 bc—the distinctive flintwork giving its name to a regional tradition, the Creswellian. At Robin Hood's Cave on the north side a decorated rib‐bone carrying the image of a horse was found in 1876. More recently, in April 2003, cave art was recognized in Church Hole Cave on the south side of the gorge, the first of its kind in the British Isles. Twelve panels carrying figures of bovids, caprids, cervids, and birds are known. Single panels have since been identified in Robin Hood's Cave and Mother Grundy's Parlour. Stylistically, the figures relate to the late Magdalenian cave art of France and Spain, and therefore date to between 12 000 and 11 000 bc. Small‐scale use of the caves at Creswell for occupation and burial continued into later prehistoric and Roman times.


P. Pettitt, P. Bahn, and S. Ripoll, 2007, Palaeolithic cave art at Creswell Crags in European context. Oxford: OUP

Subjects: Archaeology.

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