Creswell Crags represents one site among a significant cluster of cave sites inhabited during the last Ice Age in Britain. The dramatic limestone gorge is tucked away within the gently undulating limestone landscape on the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border. Archaeological and environmental evidence excavated from the caves show how the area witnessed dramatic changes in climate at the edge of the northern ice sheets and was populated by Ice Age animals such as hyenas, mammoths, woolly rhinoceros, and migrating herds of reindeer, horse and bison. Significantly the caves provided shelter for nomadic human groups through a crucial period of human evolution between 55,000 and 10,000 years ago. Stone, bone and ivory tools from the caves reveal Middle and Upper Palaeolithic occupation, in addition to portable and recently discovered 13000 year old engraved rock art figures of deer, birds, bison, and horse. This evidence connects the Ice Age human cultures at Creswell Crags to groups across north west Europe.
Creswell Crags Museum display the life of stone age man in a most engaging manner. For example, the skin of animals including birds were an essential material for making bags and rucksacks as well as clothes, shoes, sleeping bags, and tents. Large flint points were attached to spears as weapon heads. Plant fibres, animal gut, leather and hair could be woven together to make lengths of cord to fasten flint to wooden shafts, bind or carry equipment, stitch clothes, as well being woven together to make netting. Bone, ivory and teeth were all used to make jewellery during the Ice Age. These objects could either have been sewn onto jackets or worn as a necklace. Ivory is extremely hard and, like antler, could be smoothed and shaped into harpoon points. Points of ivory and antler could also be used to retouch the edges of flint flakes and blades by chipping off tiny flakes to bring them to the shape and sharpness needed for a particular job.
The most occupied caves were: Church Hole Cave, home to Palaeolithic etchings; Mother Grundy's Parlour, which has produced numerous flint tools and split bones and was occupied until Mesolithic times; Robin Hood's Cave, the location of a bone engraved with a horse's head and evidence that its occupants hunted and trapped woolly rhinoceros and Arctic hare; The Pin Hole, the location of the Pinhole Cave Man, a human figure engraved on bone and discovered in the 1920s, and an ivory pin with etched lines and Church Hole, with more than 80 engravings on its walls and occupied intermittently until Roman times. The "Ochre Horse" was found on 29 June 1876 at the back of the western chamber in the Robin Hood Cave. In 2003, the Ochre Horse was estimated to be between 11,000 and 13,000 years old. Assistance dogs are welcome. All of the areas within the Museum are accessible for wheelchair users and people with pushchairs. There is a lift between floors, which is located next to the main staircase. Unfortunately the caves are not suitable for wheelchairs, however, the gorge is fully accessible with well-surfaced paths. Public toilets, including accessible facilities, are available on the Upper Floor next to Reception and on the Lower Floor next to the main staircase. Baby-change facilities are available at the toilets by Reception. The Musuem has induction loops fitted in all public areas.
Location : Crags Rd, Holbeck, Worksop, Derbyshire S80 3LH
Transport: Creswell (National Rail) 15 minutes. Bus Routes : 77 (Worksop to Chesterfield) stops nearby.
Opening Times : Daily 10:00 to 17:30
Tickets : Free
Tickets Exhibition Entry : £3.00 Adults; £2.00 Concessions; £1.50 Children
Tickets Ice Age Cave Tour : £7.50 Adults; £6.50 Concessions; £5.50 Children
Tickets Rock Art Cave Tour : £8.50 Adults; £7.50 Concessions; £6.00 Children
Tel: 01909 720378