Creswell Crags is delighted to announce Professor Alice Roberts as its new Patron. Famous for its Ice Age cave art, archaeological and paleontological finds linking its limestone caves to prehistoric hunters and creatures such as woolly mammoths and hyenas, the site recently hit the headlines for the discovery of the largest collection of protective ‘Witch Marks’ found in the UK. This latest discovery was featured on a 2019 episode of Digging for Britain, which Professor Roberts presents.
Professor Roberts visited the site in 2010 to see the Ice Age rock art in Church Hole cave as part of the first series of Digging for Britain. As a high profile media and academic personality, known for her work with prehistory, science, and evolution, her expertise is highly relevant to Creswell Crags.
Alice Roberts said “I’m delighted to become a Patron of this incredibly important site - with rock art dating back to the end of the Palaeolithic, when ancient hunter gatherer groups were recolonising Britain, as the ice sheets of the last Ice Age were retreating. From that ancient rock art - the most northerly in Europe - to later ‘witches’ mark’ engravings, Creswell Crags is steeped in mystery and history.”
Managed by Creswell Heritage Trust, an independent charity entirely reliant on donations and ticket sales, Creswell Crags, on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border, is a popular, award-winning visitor attraction and beauty spot, with a museum containing artefacts from the collection of the British Museum and Natural History Museum, regular cave tours, and a unique special events programme. The previous patron was naturalist David Bellamy, who died in late 2019.
Dr Tim Caulton, Chair of Creswell Heritage Trust said: “Creswell Heritage Trust is absolutely delighted that Professor Alice Roberts has accepted our invitation to become Patron of the Trust. Alice is an enthusiastic, popular and well-respected supporter of public engagement with science, history and archaeology and as such she embodies the aims and aspirations of staff, trustees and supporters of Creswell Crags as we strive to become a site of World Heritage Status.”
Paul Baker, Executive Director of Creswell Heritage Trust said: “The appointment of Professor Roberts as a new patron marks a significant moment in the evolution of Creswell Heritage Trust. We are honoured that Alice has accepted our invitation and we look forward to working with her and welcoming her to the site. Her reputation and academic credentials perfectly reflect those of our site and we applaud the work she has undertaken for other charities. This signifies a wonderful start to 2020.”
For more information about Creswell Crags, including opening times, visit the website.
Notes for editors
- Creswell Crags forms part of one of Europe's most important archaeological landscapes preserving the most significant cluster of cave sites inhabited during the last Ice Age in Britain. The caves provided shelter for Neanderthal and anatomically modern people through a crucial period of human evolution between 130,000 and 10,000 years ago.
- Since the 1880s, excavations have produced a wealth of evidence from which it is possible to interpret what life was like for hunters at the edge of Europe. Archaeological finds dating back between 10,000 and 50,000 years ago have also been discovered, including flint and bone tools and carvings, proving that Ice Age hunters visited the site to hunt reindeer and horse.
- Creswell Crags hit the headlines in April 2003 with the discovery of the Ice Age Cave Art, billed as one of the most important prehistoric finds in the last decade, Britain's earliest cave art 13,000 years old including figures of birds, deer, bison and horse. Britain's oldest work of art, a fine engraving of a horse on animal rib bone found in Robin Hood Cave and the recent cave art discoveries in Church Hole connects us with the great era of cave painting on the continent.
- The discovery of cave art at Creswell Crags in 2003 was the most important find from the British Palaeolithic since the discovery of 500,000 year old hominid remains from Boxgrove, West Sussex in the mid-1990s.
- In February 2019 it hit the headlines again with news of the discovery of the largest collection of Witch Marks in the UK. The news was reported around the world.
For further information please contact Rebecca Morris-Buck, Communications Manager, Creswell Heritage Trust: