Church Hole is a cave which was used in both the Middle Palaeolithic and the late Upper Palaeolithic. Its late Middle Palaeolithic (Mousterian) use may have been pene-contemporaneous with occupation of the cave by spotted hyenas. Humans and hyenas were present during the middle Devensian and there is no reason why Neanderthal use of Church Hole should not have been at about the same time as that of the other Creswell caves.
Of much greater relevance to the subject of the Creswell parietal art is the late Upper Palaeolithic occupation. A large part of the discussion has necessarily been chronologically orientated and the conclusion which comes across is very clear—namely, that it seems likely that all this archaeological material could belong to the earlier part of the Late Glacial Interstadial and most probably to the second half of the 13th millennium bp. This is the time when it is envisaged that the engravings were made on the walls of the cave (Pike et al., this volume). This does not mean that they are necessarily coeval.
The debris left behind comes from the hunting of mountain hares and wild cattle and includes, as well as cut bones, flint projectile tips and antler fore-shaft fragments. There are awls, a needle, and a possible thread-winder, suggesting the making or repair of clothing, or equipment such as sleeping bags. The alternative interpretation of the notched bone as a flesher might be possible evidence for the cleaning of pelts. Fires were lit and it is just possible that some of the flints found were from making these or were the tools used to engrave. With the exception of the last it is the sort of random collection which might be expected at a site used over a not particularly lengthy period of time by mobile hunters passing through the Crags.
Pettitt (in Bahn et al. 2005) has observed that there is less evidence for late Upper Palaeolithic occupation at Church Hole than there is from the other caves at Creswell Crags—Mother Grundy's Parlour, Pin Hole, and Robin Hood Cave. This is, however, difficult to quantify at a locality where the collections are so chronologically mixed. One way around the problem may be to compare counts for Upper Palaeolithic abruptly modified (backed) pieces from each of the four caves. However, even this is not straightforward. For example, at Mother Grundy's Parlour there is also evidence for an important Mesolithic occupation and it is not always possible clearly to distinguish between Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic backed pieces—particularly when these are fragmentary.
Nevertheless, what is very apparent from Table 7.9 is that there are indeed fewest late Upper Palaeolithic backed pieces from Church Hole and that the largest numbers come from Mother Grundy's Parlour and Robin Hood Cave. That these should be the richest sites is not surprising given that the former is the largest deep rock-shelter in the Crags and the 'Western Chamber' of Robin Hood Cave the largest enclosed roofed space. Both are clearly better suited than Church Hole and Pin Hole to the making of camps.
Garrod in a letter to Leslie Armstrong (17 February 1925: Weston Park Museum, Sheffield: Armstrong archive) attributed the fact that there was 'only one industrial level' at Church Hole to the cave facing north, while the
Table 7.9. Count of Late Upper Palaeolithic abruptly modiWed (backed) pieces from caves at Creswell Crags
Church Hole Pin Hole
Robin Hood Cave Mother Grundy's Parlour
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