Ice Age Exploration at Trowbridge Museum

How big was a woolly mammoth and what tools did people in the past use to hunt them? Intrepid visitors to Trowbridge Museum found out the answer to these questions on Thursday when Time Travelling by Water joined forces with the Trowbridge Archaeology Group to explore past Ice Ages.

During an Ice Age the earth becomes colder and water freezes into ice sheets. At these times land which is today underwater (and studied by marine archaeologists) is dry enough for people and the animals they hunted to live on. This means that some of the best evidence for exploring Ice Age people can be found under the water. Fittingly then our brave volunteers donned snorkels to find mammoth remains and explore ancient prehistoric tools on our submerged virtual seabed. 

But how big was a woolly mammoth? To answer this question we looked to our feet. We made life-size replicas of mammoth footprints and drew our own footprints inside them. We found out that a mammoth’s foot is 13 times bigger than one of our own – using a size 3 ½ shoe – so a woolly mammoth would have been around 13 times bigger than one of our volunteers. They were around 3 metres tall and 3 metres long from tusk to tail. To remind us of what these impressive beasts looked like we modelled them in clay – though of course not at actual size. And we marvelled at how people in the past hunted such large creatures.

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