A Prehistoric Puzzle

This impressive set of bison horns from Worcester City’s collection has been painstakingly put back together by an expert conservator.

Its history is just as fascinating: in the early 1830s a young natural historian Hugh Strickland was attempting to make sense of the confusing geology that made up the Vale of Evesham. Men working in the quarries that scattered the landscape would bring him any unusual bones that they came across.

This set of horns was found in Bricklehampton, near Cropthorne. Strickland thought it was an aurochs- a type of extinct giant wild cattle. Upon writing to Richard Owen, founder of the Natural History Museum and the man who coined the term ‘dinosaur’, Owen identified it as a steppe bison, a close relative of the aurochs.

For hundreds of thousands of years — right up until the end of the last Ice Age 12,000 years ago — bison, along with mammoths, lions and all sorts of other exotic and extinct animals, would have been a common sight in Worcestershire.

Claire Cheshire, Collections Assistant

during conservation

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