Pinhole Cave Man

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Pinhole Cave
53.26, -1.19

The Pinhole Cave Man or Pin Hole Cave Man is the common name for an engraving of a human figure on a woolly rhinoceros rib bone dating to the Upper Paleolithic that is now in the British Museum (cataloged as Palart 854). In the 1920s, a woolly rhinoceros rib (Coelodonta antiquitatis) that was broken at both ends was found in Pin Hole Cave, Creswell Crags, Derbyshire, England.

The bone is dated to the Late Upper Paleolithic, about 12,000 years old. Near one of the broken ends is engraved a male human figure. The drawing, 5 centimeters (2.0 in) tall, faces to the right; the whole bone is 20.8 centimeters (8.2 in) long. It is clearly a man as he has a penis – this may have been an earlier feature of the bone that was enhanced. His thin arm stretches out from his body. His head may be wearing a mask – or he is just drawn with a protruding nose and jaw. He has legs that appear incomplete, a crooked back, and a long engraved line across his upper body. The surface of the bone is scratched all over; on the reverse side of the bone, there are two parallel engraved lines.