Step Back in Time


What's the Museum about?

Cheddar Gorge & Caves are famous for the discoveries made by archaeologists about Britain's pre-historic past. The Museum tells the amazing story of how our ancestors lived through a 40,000-year struggle for survival during the Ice Age.

The Museum of Prehistory brings together the findings from Cheddar excavations and shows how they fit into the bigger global history of our species. The thinking of some of Britain's leading archaeologists, palaeontologists and anthropologists is used in telling the story.

What will I see and learn?

  • Original flint tools
  • Butchered human remains that are evidence of cannibalism
  • A replica of Cheddar Man
  • Reproductions of art objects and music
  • Video footage and live demonstrations of our ancestors' survival skills
  • A hunter-gatherers' encampment
  • Demonstrations of flint knapping and fire making
  • Hands-on cave painting

Kids love the hands-on cave painting and chatting to our hunter-gatherer re-enactors as they demonstrate flint knapping and fire making.

Did you know?

  • The butchered human remains scattered around Gough’s Cave are evidence that suggests our ancestors were cannibals. Cannibalism was probably normal everywhere until farming became widespread 6,000 – 4,000 years ago.
  • Two flint spear points dated to 40,000 years ago are evidence of our species' earliest arrival in Britain. As it grew colder, they left again...
  • Butchered horse bones excavated from Gough's Cave date to the end of the great Ice Age. Our ancestors, the Horse Hunters of Cheddar Gorge, stampeded their prey over the cliff edges.
  • Cheddar Man, Britain's oldest complete skeleton, was buried in Gough's Cave 9,000 years ago.

Need to know

  • Parental / teacher guidance is recommended because of the adult nature of some exhibits.
  • Cave painting and hunter-gatherer re-enactments take place most days between April and September.
  • Wheelchair users can access the Museum via a ramp and a small lift.
  • Interpretation panels with large type and some audio are available for the visually impaired.
  • There are good displays, videos and interpretation panels for the hard of hearing.

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Be Inspired

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"We loved our day so much, the students insisted we post you a review! Special thanks to Roy, who gave us such a lovely warm welcome. We enjoyed the friendly and informative talk on the bus tour given by Eszter, and Samantha was brilliant in Gough’s Cave."

East Surrey College