CA 197

1 min read

CA197-1Amazing! For the first time, Ice Age cave art has been found in  Britain. Countless people have visited Creswell Crags on the  Nottinghamshire-Derbyshire border near Worksop, including distinguished  archaeologists who have dug there, yet have seen nothing.  The caves were thought to be devoid of the kind of Upper  Palaeolithic art that is famous in France and Spain. Yet now Paul  Bahn and colleagues have noticed not paintings, but engravings of  animals high on cave walls and ceilings. Full publication is awaited,  but in the meantime we are delighted that Paul has given us a first-hand  account of how the discoveries came to be made, together  with some splendid photographs.

The hunt is now on for more engravings in British caves, and lo  and behold, another team has found some at Aveline’s Hole in north  Somerset. Upper Palaeolithic too? Perhaps to be more cautious, we  should put them no earlier than the Mesolithic period, when the  cave was used for burials.

From the Palaeolithic we then leap forward to the Middle  Ages. The Edwardian castles of North Wales are some of the  finest examples of military architecture in the World. The trouble  is they are all English: what about the Welsh castles? When  CADW (Welsh Historic Monuments) was formed in the 1980s they  decided to concentrate on excavating and displaying some Welsh  castles too. At Dolforwyn, in the centre of the Welsh Marches,  Lawrence Butler has now uncovered one of the finest of these,  and here he reveals his discoveries and asks the big question:  what is the difference between a Welsh castle and an English  castle?

And then to Nassington, a picturesque village in Northamptonshire.  Nassington offers the prime example of ‘Digging-up-yourown-  home’ archaeology. When Jane Baile acquired the Prebendal  Manor house at Nassington, it was a somewhat undistinguished  structure. Now, 30 years later, it has been excavated and restored,  and the history has been worked out with the help of the Time  Team. The house is now open to visitors, and here we look at how  Jane set about digging up her own home – and what it was like  when King Cnut (Canute) came to visit.

Coming further forward in time, we come down to Oliver  Cromwell who had trouble not only with Royalist English and the  unruly Irish, but also with rebellious Scots. He therefore sent a  fleet headed by the Swan to overawe the Scots. But at Duart  Point it sank. Recently the wreck has been discovered and here  Colin Martin tells us about what has been discovered and how it  was identified.

And there is a lot more – the Diary, Books, and News items  which include Bronze Age carvings, a gold bracelet and what might  be the smallest witch bottle ever discovered. Good reading!

Jeffrey May and Andrew Selkirk

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