| 9 August 2006
Major excavation started at Church Hole cave
Experts are searching a northern beauty spot for clues about Ice Age artists who etched pictures of animals on to cave walls some 13,000 years ago. The engravings of animals were found at Church Hole cave, Creswell Crags, at Welbeck near Worksop (England) three years ago and are evidence the limestone gorge near Worksop is one of the most northerly areas explored by man in the Ice Age.
A team from the University of Sheffield and the British Museum started digging outside the cave in the hope that over the next two weeks they will unearth more major findings at the site. It is the first major excavation at the site since the 1920s.
Dr Paul Pettit from Sheffield University's Department of Archaeology, who is leading the dig, said: "We know that Church Hole was excavated very rapidly by the Victorians in the 1870s and very little is known about the animals and people who inhabited this cave during the Ice Age. Many of the bones and stone tools would have been thrown away and now lie within the Victorian spoil heap directly outside the cave's entrance. Our plan is to excavate this spoil heap and find the original Ice Age sediments below which contain bones and other artefacts from the period."
The inspector for ancient monuments with English Heritage, Jon Humble, said: "The excavations are also likely to show just how much archaeology has developed in the last 80 years. What were then considered of no interest are now crucial scientific clues to life in the gorge 13,000 years ago and more." The director for Creswell Heritage Trust, Ian Wall, added: "This is once again a wonderful opportunity to highlight one of the regions major cultural sites and invite visitors to experience the process of archaeology in action. There will be opportunities to talk to the excavation team and view the recent finds. The museum will also be running a series of activities alongside the excavation including regular tours to Church Hole and Robin Hood Cave."
Source: Yorkshire Post Today (8 August 2006)
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