By Libby Salmon, aged 10 years old
My family and I have been studying prehistoric Britain and decided to visit Creswell Crags to learn more.
Creswell Crags is in Derbyshire, near Worksop, and is one of the most important Ice Age sites in Europe. It is a cave system and in one of the caves archaeologists found Ice Age drawings, which are thought to be the most traditional rock art in Britain. The drawings were discovered in 2003, although people have been studying the caves for much longer than that. Animal remains and stone tools have been found in the caves, as well as the Pinhole Man. Pinhole Man is a drawing on a piece of bone, which was found in Pinhole Cave (hence the name). We saw the piece of bone in a special exhibition when we visited.
We were lucky enough to be some of the few people who got to see it. It was in a glass case for protection, as it is ancient. The case keeps the carving untouched and at the right temperature, moisture level and climate. The piece of bone is about twenty centimetres long, yellowy-white and has scratch marks on it, where a Palaeolithic man drew a figure. The display we saw focused mainly on the figure. The scratches could be considered to be a cartoon or a caricature, or they could show a man wearing a ceremonial mask. They could even show some kind of creature; half man, half animal. It was interesting to see different people’s perceptions of it.
There is also a permanent exhibition about the Ice Age. This started with a video going back in time and showing the landscape of the Crags and how it has changed over the many years since. As we moved further into the exhibition, there was a picture of some hyenas eating their prey, as well as a video showing how the Ice Age temperatures swung from extremely cold to extremely hot. At one point there were lions and hippos living in Derbyshire! However, my favourite thing in that room was a computer where you could use a camera inside one of the caves to see the walls and ceiling. You could also see and trace over the important lines of the rock art with your finger and then the computer would show you if you had got it in the right places. This was really cool, as it meant you could see the pictures much easier than trying to decipher scratches among other marks!
As we walked round the Crags, there were lots of caves visible. We saw most of the caves, including Pinhole Cave where the Pinhole Man was found. You can visit some of the caves with a guide, which looked really interesting. Hopefully next time we can do that! The path we followed around the gorge was really interesting and we got some free duck food to feed the ducks. The ducks live in a lake in the centre of the gorge. Another of the caves we saw was Mother Grundy’s Parlour. If I had to live in one of the caves, it would definitely be that one. It had lots of flat spaces and we think it was also connected to some of the other caves. Creswell Crags was definitely worth a visit and we enjoyed all of it.
What is your favorite historic adventure?