Thursday, 6 May 2010

Ice Age

Today we went to Creswell Crags Ice Age Caves.
I made some cupcakes last night for our lunch but came down to see that the icing had been eaten off two and a half of the cakes! Guess who???
yup Kiki! grrrr
We set off very early thinking that traffic would be a problem, we arrived 40 minutes early! ooops. We had a lovely time exploring the grounds before everyone else arrived though.
Googs was a little unsure about this bridge because of the gaps that revealed the river below.

Bluebells! The flash ruined this picture though as they were so beautiful in natural light.

Daddy swan. He was so good about having the children say helloBoat cave.

Isn't he handsome.
The others arrived. There were 65 of us so we were separated into 3 groups and rotated the activities.
Our first activity was to learn some survival skills. We started off learning about shelters and made some of our own.

An important survival skill is the ability to hunt.

Even Gran had a go. Googs did too but he was too shy to throw in front of the group so he had a go when no one was looking.
We then went up to the exhibition centre to have a look around before our cave art tour.

Wild horse jaw.
Oldest coloured drawing known in Britain. 12,500 years old. It is of a horse carved on a rib bone. Can you see it?
The mommy swan sitting on her eggs. She turns each one of her eggs throughout the day to make sure that the heat is evenly distributed.
Swans usually mate for life. The first mate of this swan died and everyone expected that would be it but...she returned with a toy boy!
Waiting to go into the cave to look at the cave art.
The our guide explaining the art, the Victorian theories and about how the people from the ice age lived one one side of the gorge but did all their art of the other side.
This is where most of the cave art is. All the light marks that you can see is modern graffiti - well from Victorian times. You can't see the ice age art because it is so much lighter. There is a reindeer on it. Two Victorian boys found it and one of them thought that it was a goat so decided to draw on a beard - that's the scratches on the left hand side.
It's funny how we travel round and oooh and ahhh about the Victorian things where as here all we seem to do is frown at it :o)

After lunch we had our last activity, which was to go into Robin Hood's cave. Only those big enough to wear helmets were allowed in so Kiki had to stay behind and play outside with my Mom.
Putting on their hard hats, all very exciting! Googs doesn't look very impressed because his brother was hitting his helmet.
Learning about how a railway was once planned for the gorge. A Duke (not sure which one) wanted to stop this happening so he built a dam and flooded the gorge. He then used the lake to sail on and shoot ducks.
Robin Hood's Cave.
The King was full of wrath,
and swore to the Trinity
"I wish I had Robin Hood
that I might him see"
(A gest of Robyn Hode, 15th century)
In this story it is the King who complained about Robin's activities and ordered the Sheriff to remove Robin from Sherwood forest. The Sheriff, for once, found Robin's hideout and began to chase him out of the forest. As he fled through Creswell Crags gorge, Robin hid inside the cave until the Sheriffs men had gone. Today that cave still bears the name.
Entering the cave.
Champ was the first one into the cave. The story was that in the Ice Age, hyenas lived in these caves so they would choose one person to go in first and if they were eaten they would know to run away :o) Champ volunteered to go in first!

Being shown the different ice age tools in the upper chamber.
The kids really enjoyed seeing examples of stone tools like the ones that they had made.
Spear head.
All looking at the reindeer skin bag. Apparently there are two ways of making the skin soft enough to use 1. scraping it and then rubbing it with reindeer brains. 2. weeing and then chewing on it.
more weapons.
A cave dwelling spider. There were quite a few of these good size spiders.
These rats are 20 years old!!! Apparently, a student was researching how the bodies of rats decomposed in caves. She places rats in pairs in different places in the caves. All the other rats are just piles of bones now but these two were mummified. They think it was due to the airflow in that part of the cave.
Going down into the main chamber. We had to crouch down low to get through the passage... well Googs didn't have to.
This cave was used by hyenas at one point and much much later it was used by some Duke to hold banquets!

Holding a baby mommoth bone.
Boo was interested, I just had her turn her head as her torch was shining right into the camera.
Moorhen chicks.
Playing pooh sticks on the way back.
The girls saying hi to the hyena.
Champ was so torn as to which fossils to spend his pocket money on. In the end he decided on some tiny pieces of real dinosaur egg, this piece os amber with insects, and...
this big boy!
There were no horse fossils so Boo got this model of an "olden days horse"
Googs bought a 60 millions year old shark tooth fossil.
Kiki must have seen Champ buy his fossils because while I was looking round the shop, one of the mothers called to me asking whether I had allowed Kiki to buy something. There she was at the till, she had handed over a fools gold rock. I quickly said no and put it back but after the others bought fossils with their pocket money, I thought that it was only fair that she got something...
Ta da! She calls it her tooth fairy rock.

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