The Stone Age Archaeology of Church Hole,
Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire
R. M. Jacobi
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
This study was funded as a part of the Leverhulme Trust project 'Ancient Human Occupation
of Britain'. Writing took place in the Dept. of Prehistory and Europe at the British Museum and
I thank Jill Cook, head of the Quaternary Section, and Nick Ashton, Senior Curator, for their
support. I would like to thank all the curators and staff of the institutions whose collections
I have used in piecing together this account; the Trustees of the British Museum for permission
to figure material from the collection; John Prag and Phil Manning at Manchester Museum and
Ian Wall at the Creswell Crags Museum and Education Centre for allowing me to include
drawings and photographs of specimens in their charge. My thanks are also due to Daryl Carton
for permitting the study of the material from Farndon Fields and to Jenny Brown for all her help.
The drawings of quartzite artefacts are by Mike Angel and those of the flint artefacts by Hazel
Martingell. The bone and antler objects from Church Hole were drawn by Jules Cross and the
photographs are by Gwil Owen. Typing of the manuscript and preparation of the other figures
are the work of Robert Symmons, also a member of the 'Ancient Human Occupation of Britain'
project to whom I am deeply grateful. Finally, I thank Paul Pettitt for inviting me to write this
chapter and for his friendship.