|27 March 2004
Cave art to go on show
The only known Ice Age cave art in Britain is to be revealed to the public for the first time. But the tours, to be held for just two weeks next month, will be the only chance to see the 12,000-year-old carvings at Creswell Crags (Nottinghamshire, England) for some years.
Archaeologists announced their unique discovery at the Crags last summer. The images carved by nomadic Ice Age hunters who sheltered in the caves were the first to be found in Britain. Before then only small carved objects from the period had been found in the UK. Ice Age cave art has previously been found in France and Spain. The Creswell pictures, of animals such as the ibex (a type of goat), wild ox and birds, were found carved into the walls of Church Hole Cave at the heritage site at Welbeck, near Worksop. But they have been kept from public view while they have been studied, and to protect them.
Now the first tours to see the carvings are to be run daily between April 3 and 18. Times will vary and places must be booked in advance. Visitors will be able to see the ancient images, which are high up on the cave wall, by climbing steps to a viewing platform. Brian Chambers, Creswell Crags curator, said: "This really is a chance in a lifetime."
It is likely to be the only public viewing allowed for two, possibly three years. But other caves will remain open. Public access has been limited owing to health and safety issues. But in the long term, organisers are investigating ways for the public to have more access. Researchers will be given limited access to the site.
Ian Wall, services and operations manager, said: "It is a sensitive archaeological site and we have already had to take special measures such as installing scaffold platforms for people to stand on to look at the art.
The cave tours will cost £5 for adults, £2.50 for children or £12.50 for a family of four. Visitors must be aged above five. The number of people allowed on each of up to four tours a day will be limited to ten for health and safety reasons. Early bookings for cave tours are recommended. Call 01909 720378.
Source: This is Nottingham, Evening Post (26 March 2004)
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