An interpretation too far?

Bull Roarer from Pin Hole Cave

Bull Roarer from Pin Hole Cave

I’ve been doing some reading up about one of our cave fossils here at the museum.

The specimen has always been called the ‘Bull Roarer’ and was found at Pin Hole Cave at Creswell Crags, near Nottingham. Creswell Crags is an important site of early human occupation in Britain about 20,000 years ago.

Bull roarers are ancient ritualistic instruments used to communicate over long distances. But is this what it really is? A book I have been reading on these fossils (Bone, Tooth & Horn tools of Palaeolithic Man, J. W. Kitching) suggests otherwise.

The hole at the top was identified by Armstrong in 1936 as hole drilled from both sides. Kitching in 1963, suggested the holes we due to the structure of the bone marrow and possible acid etching in the stomach of a hyaena. He said that at best it might have been a pendant, but wouldn’t have worked very well as a bull roarer because it wasn’t smooth enough.

I think the Bull Roarer interpretation may be a step too far, but it makes a good story! What do you think?


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