Monday, May 21, 2012

A Supplement to the Paleolithic Podcast, the Creswellians

The Paleolithic Podcast, episode 2, was a 30 minute or so endeavor that covered nearly 2.6 million years of history. As such, it shouldn't be surprising that we missed a number of things to keep pace. As such, we're going back and plugging in the holes from time to time. This is one such plug.

The Creswellian Culture was a late Paleolithic, early Neolithic Culture in Central England. The main sites of this culture were found in the Creswell Crags, in Derbyshire. The Creswellian Culture seems to have been a local variant of the much larger Maglemosian Culture we talked about in the third episode of the podcast that covered the Mesolithic. We noted that the Maglemosians were one of the earliest Scandinavian cultures and were a big proponent of microlith technology. They were the first to invent the trident fishing spear. So, the Creswellian Culture wasn't all that unique at the time. So what gave the Creswellians their uniqueness has a much more modern flair to it.

The Creswellians were discovered by Dorothy Garrod and she first published about them in 1926. Since egalitarian societies tend to still be a struggle for the 21st century, an early 20th century academic publishing would have been intriguing enough for us here at the history of europe podcast blog. But, the Creswellian Culture publishing happened to be the very first of the young Garrod. She would later become the first woman to be elected as a professor at Oxbridge (a combination school of two of the most famous universities in the world, Oxford and Cambridge). This prestigious anecdote is fascinating enough, but Garrod's life reads much like a female version of Indiana Jones, save for the Nazi or Alien involvement. She worked in far flung regions of the world such as her native England, extensive work in Israel and east into Kurdistan.

So there you have a dose of necessary supplements to both the Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods. In short summary, the Creswellian Culture was a Derbyshire branch of the larger Late Paleolithic/Early Mesolithic Maglemosian Culture that lived in the caves of the Creswell Crags some time between 13,000 and 11,500 years ago. They hunted, gathered and made microliths to achieve their goals. They died and were eventually found by a woman trendsetter in the early 20th century, only to sit idle until we (and a few other like minded history nerds post little blurbs about them to be read by tens of people).

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