Hi my name is Chris, and I am a PhD student based in the Neuroscience and Aphasia Research Unit. I am here at the museum on a three month placement away from my research. I’m currently cataloguing and archiving specimens and documents from the excavations of Creswell Crags.
Creswell Crags is a limestone gorge in Derbyshire peppered with caves that provided shelter for animals and humans during the Last Ice Age. The caves were first excavated by the Rev. Magens Mello and Sir William Boyd Dawkins from 1875 onwards, and Dawkins used the specimens found to show that people were contemporary with Woolly Mammoths. In the 1920s and 30s, the Pin Hole Cave and Mother Grundy’s Parlour were systematically excavated by A. Leslie Armstrong, and many exciting discoveries were found including a rare engraving of a human figure.
The most interesting aspect of my work so far has been the archiving of documents relating to A. Leslie Armstrong’s excavations. Through them, you get a real sense of his dedication, and the network of experts and enthusiasts who helped him to identify the specimens that were uncovered. For instance, Armstrong corresponded with Dorothea Bate in an attempt to identify some fragments of bird egg (most likely Shellduck according to Dorothea). This sharing of investigative work struck a chord with me, as I have found a similar process of collaboration amongst neuroscience researchers.