A family of swans glide gracefully through calm waters at Creswell Crags, but suddenly the silence is broken by a mélange of ducks dipping and diving around them. This gorge, however, has not always been home to such benevolence, but is keeper of a long held history; a hidden secret which until the dawn of the 20th century was untold.
Creswell Crags is an enclosed limestone gorge on the border between Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, and is known as an outstanding Ice Age archaeological site.
We know all of this from the remains that have been found over the past 100 years, some of which include a Neanderthal flint hand-axe dated 60,000-40,000 years old found in one of the caves. A 80,000 year old wolf's tooth, the skull of a Hyena 30,000 years old, and a Woolly rhinoceros tooth 50,000-38,000 years old.
Ten thousand years ago during the late stages of the Ice Age, our ancestors travelled long distances to hunt and live in Creswell Crags using their caves as shelters. They travelled across Doggerland (now hidden beneath the North Sea) an area of land which once connected Britain to Europe. These ancestors were great hunters and well adapted to surviving the harsh climatic changes towards the end of the Ice Age.
A carving of a Bison done 13,000 years ago. This was found on one of the cave walls as recently as 2003.
If you are interested to know more about Doggerland and its significance I wrote a post about it here.