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Excavations at Cresswell Crags, Derbyshire


    A T a meeting of the Royal Anthropological Institute held on April 21, Mr. A. Leslie Armstrong read a paper entitled “Recent Excavations on Palaeolithic Sites at Cresswell Crags, Derbyshire,” describing excavations which had been carried out by him under a Joint Committee of the British Association and the Royal Anthropological Institute. The two important sites of Upper Palaeolithic date under investigation consist of a rock shelter and a cave respectively. The former, excavated between June and October 1924, is situated in front of Mother Grundy's Parlour, the last cave of the Cresswell group excavated by Sir William Boyd Dawkins and the late Rev. J. M. Mills in 1879. This proved to be an undisturbed stratified'deposit with a Palaeolithic relic bed 2 feet 6 inches thick. The lowest stratum yielded implements of quartzite which, from evidence afterwards obtained in the cave site, are probably referable to Mousterian times. Overlying this was a rich deposit from which flint implements, bone tools, and three pieces of engraved bone were recovered. The latter are believed to represent bison, reindeer, and rhinoceros, but all are fragmentary. At the lowest level of this layer was a hearth formed in a hollow scooped out in the basement bed and ringed around with flat stones, on edge, just as Boy Scouts build a fireplace to-day. The area around the fire proved the most prolific in antiquities. The flint implements from that level are late Aurignacian in general character, those from the top of the deposit are early Tardenoisian, and those from the intervening layer reveal a gradual development in style and technique from one culture to the other.

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