Discover ancient animals as you explore Hoe Grange Quarry
Among the many animal bones discovered at Hoe Grange were these strange objects.
They are pieces of fossilised poo (known as coprolites), left behind by hyaenas around 120,000 years ago. Hyaena dropping are high in calcium and phosphate which increase the chance of becoming preserved. The presence of hyaenas at this site may have helped to build up the archaeological record. The pack may have been using local caves as dens, bringing back and dropping the remains of other animals for us to discover many years later.
In 1902 a cavern in the limestone quarry at Hoe Grange was discovered, having been filled with clay and sand. Over 8,000 bones were found inside, representing almost 30 different species of animal. The bones were around 120,000 years old, from a period known as the ‘Ipswichian’, a warmer period before the last ice age. Animals uncovered included hyaena, lions, rhinoceros, bison and deer. The animals found at Hoe Grange probably fell into a fissure where their carcasses attracted carnivores that soon became trapped themselves.