Visitors to Cheddar Gorge & Caves are being given yet another new experience, following the complete transformation of The Museum of Prehistory at this popular Somerset attraction.
It’s all part of a £400,000 move to upgrade the entire visitor experience at Cheddar, and follows hard on the heels of the launch in Spring of a new attraction in Cox’s Cave, Dreamhunters – The Adventures Of Early Man.
The new interpretation at The Museum of Prehistory now gives visitors an opportunity to see the development of our forefathers’ skills of fire-lighting and tool making, and presents examples of weapons and equipment that would have been used and developed millions of years ago.
The museum’s presentation follows a fresh and illuminating time-line which also shows how we thrived, and developed culturally. This is partly illustrated by recreations of cave art – in an area where visitors can “have a go” at creating cave art for themselves.
Early man, however, did not exist in isolation, and part of the role of the new Museum will be to tell the story of “the animals that we lived alongside, our predators, our prey, and our companions”.
While Dreamhunters presents all of this using state-of-the-art projectors, sound systems and lighting, to create a spectacular multi-media walk-through experience in Cox’s Cave, the new-look Museum underlines the significance of Cheddar Gorge as a whole on our knowledge of pre-historic Britain.
The entire look and feel of the Museum has been dramatically improved, with more thought going into which artefacts help to illustrate which part of the story, and with modern infographics, and bite size information, on each topic – so that the visitor can engage and digest information more easily.
While the Museum still has a focus on the most significant local finds, including a reproduction of the oldest almost complete skeleton – “Cheddar Man” – the overall aim is for visitors to gain a better impression of just how significant Cheddar Gorge & Caves is in relation to this period in our past.
Dreamhunters, meanwhile, is based deep within the magical and mysterious chambers of Cox’s Cave and makes full use of a dramatic natural setting to tell the story of how our ancestors overcame ancient fears, and fierce predators, and made the tools and weapons needed to build shelters and hunt in order to protect the tribe.
Based within the eight natural chambers, the 100 metres route now tells the story of The adventures of early man in eight separate phases: an introduction; discovering flint & fire; learning to defend the group from predators such as wolves; exploring their dreams and aspirations; developing their culture and arts; protecting their home from cave bears; acquiring advanced hunting techniques by using horses; and (in a grand finale, in the final chamber) Man’s triumph and mastery of his world.
The full experience takes the visitor on a journey through pre-history lasting approximately 30 minutes.
Access to Dreamhunters – The Adventures Of Early Man and The Museum of Prehistory are both included in the general admission price of a visit to Cheddar Gorge and Caves (which includes Cox’s Cave, Gough’s Cave, The Museum of Prehistory, the Lookout Tower, Cliff-top Gorge Walk and Gorge Open-Top Bus).
2016 entry prices for Cheddar Gorge and Caves are: Adults £19.95 (online £16.95); Children (5-15) £13.95 (online £11.85); Under 5s Free. For further details, visit http://www.cheddargorge.co.uk.