Witch marks cave open day at Creswell Crags in Worksop
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Hundreds of protection marks, also known as Witch Marks, were discovered at Creswell Crags in 2018. These Apotropaic marks, from the Greek apotrepein, meaning ‘to turn away’, were discovered scribed into the walls and ceilings of the caves over dark holes and large crevices.
Hannah Steggles, Head of Public Engagement said: “The discovery of the Witch Marks five years ago revealed a whole other aspect of history at Creswell Crags. The focus of the site has been predominantly about the Ice Age, but the reveal of human impact during our more recent past highlights just how important the Crags have been for people throughout history.
"It’s wonderful to engage our visitors about such a wide spectrum of history, and we hope that people will be enthralled by stories of historical superstitions and folklore as much as they are about tales of mammoths roaming the Crags thousands of years ago!”
Throughout October and November between 10am and 11am and 1pm and 2pm a member of the learning team will be on hand to show visitors the marks and explain their role in historical superstitions.
It will be free entry into the cave during these times, and the team will be encouraging visitors to make a donation to Creswell Heritage Trust, the charity that looks after the caves.
The open cave sessions are part of a wider celebration about the Witch Marks and superstitions. The team have been running a variety of events, including a Superstitions Trail, protection bag making in Mother Grundy’s Parlour, a special Twilight Cave Tour and evening online talks about the persecution of Witches.
Ritualistic protection marks are most commonly found in historic churches and houses, near the entrance points, particularly doorways, windows and fireplaces to protect the inhabitants from evil spirits.
The number of marks at Creswell Crags is in the high hundreds, and the variety of different marks is also unprecedented.