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Palaeolithic Cave Art at Creswell Crags in European Context$
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Paul Pettitt, Paul Bahn, Sergio Ripoll, and Francisco Javier Muñoz Ibáñez

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199299171

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199299171.001.0001

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The Stone Age Archaeology of Church Hole, Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire

The Stone Age Archaeology of Church Hole, Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire

7 (p.71) The Stone Age Archaeology of Church Hole, Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire
Palaeolithic Cave Art at Creswell Crags in European Context

R. M. Jacobi

Oxford University Press

Church Hole (SK 5339 7411) is towards the western end of Creswell Crags gorge. It is the only cave or fissure on the south (Nottinghamshire) side of the crags to have yielded evidence of human occupation. It is not known when the cave got its name and at the beginning of its exploration, perhaps through ignorance, it was referred to simply as ‘Fissure C’ (Mello 1875) or the ‘Notts Cave’ (Dawkins n.d., 1876). Looking into the cave from the entrance grille is very like looking down the nave of a church and there may be no more to the name than this resemblance. The cave (Fig. 7.1) consists of a narrow passage, variously termed ‘chamber A’, ‘long passage’, or ‘main passage (A)’, which is horizontal for much of its length. It rises steeply at its inner end to terminate in a blocked crevice near the top of the Permian Lower Magnesian Limestone outcrop. On either side of the entrance are small chambers of which the more clearly defined is that on the western (right-hand) side—‘chamber B’. This is independently linked to the gorge by a narrow fissure. The cave had been closed by a stone wall and prior to excavation its outer part had been used as a byre. While bones and teeth may have been found at Creswell by George Stubbs, and these were the inspiration for his famous lion and horse paintings (Egerton 1984), it appears that the first confirmed palaeontological discovery to be made in the Crags came from Church Hole. This was a lower cheek tooth of a woolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis) and was found by Frank Tebbet the quarry manager at Welbeck. This was in 1872 (Heath 1879: 4). Serious exploration of Creswell Crags was begun in April 1875 by J. Magens Mello, the rector of St Thomas, New Brampton near Chesterfield (1863–87) and better known as the author of the Handbook to the Geology of Derbyshire (1876a).

Keywords:   burins, hyena (Crocuta crocuta), lion (Panthera leo), mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), piercers, red deer (Cervus elaphus), shouldered points, talons en éperon, utilized pieces, wolf (Canis lupus)

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