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Brown Bear skull (14,600 years old)
This skull of a 12-14 year old female brown bear has been radiocarbon dated to around 14,600 years ago, just after the last Ice Age. It’s the only adult female bear known to have hibernated and died in the cave, which was mostly used by adult males and juveniles, and she may have died from starvation soon after giving birth, as she is found along with bones from a new born cub. The skull is one of the first objects indicating that the area had been resettled, shortly followed by cutmarked horse bone and a carved javelin point which provide the first evidence that humans returned to the north of England just a century or so later. When they first arrived, they would have seen bear bones scattered all over the cave floor.
This artefact is archived at the Tot Lord Collection in Yorkshire.
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