Museum hope for Creswell rock art
Historians are planning a new £4.5m museum to showcase Britain's first cave art after it was discovered at a Derbyshire attraction.
Ice Age engravings dating back 12,000 years were uncovered by a team of archaeologists investigating Creswell Crags. The sketchings, which include an ibex — an antelope-like creature — have forced a rethink of the life of prehistoric Britons.
John Humble, inspector of ancient monuments for English Heritage, said: "The text books say that there is no cave art in Britain. They will now have to be re-written. The specialist team are to be congratulated on making a very important scientific discovery."
For the moment the paintings — some of which were covered by modern day graffiti — are not on view. But crags bosses hope the drawings will act as the catalyst for a new £4.5m museum which will showcase them and other artefacts.
Nigel Mills, manager of the Creswell Heritage Trust, said: "These discoveries confirm the importance of Creswell Crags in global terms as one of the most northerly places to have been visited by our ancestors during the Ice Age. Cave art has been found in at least three caves, and this provides a very visual and vivid addition to the Creswell Crags story, and to the story of Ice Age Britain as a whole."
A bid for Heritage Lottery Fund money is being prepared for submission next month.
Mr Mills added: "The current visitor facilities are far too small and dilapidated. We need more space in order for us to move forward and to develop museum and educational facilities befitting the importance of the site."
The museum plan is the latest in a series of initiatives announced in a £14m re-vamp of the Creswell area.
Severn Trent Water has shelled out £4m to relocate sewage works from the site, and £1.5m scheme will take place over the next 18 months to re-route the main road which runs through the gorge.
Posted by Rhiannon
10th July 2003ce