Cave Fauna Documentation

One of the school workshops run by Leeds Discovery Centre uses specimens of Pleistocene animals found in Kent’s Cavern in Torquay.

My job was to locate which boxes these specimens came from, then to document them thoroughly on the database, so that they can be kept together ready for the Education officer.

Although the specimens had been added to the database and given a unique accession number there were very little


series of hyaena teeth from Kent’s Cavern

data on the database, and no photos.

So my first task was to hone my SLR camera skills and take photographs of the specimens to add to the database.

Using the old data cards I transferred the information onto the digital database, this was an excellent way to learn how TMS (The Museum System) works.

As TMS is not designed for natural history collections I had to learn which datafields to enter key information such as the scientific name and geographical locations.

Some of the specimens we wanted to use were one of a set, such as these hyaena teeth, and did not have their own unique accession number; so I learnt how to create daughter records, to keep the data all linked together.

One of the specimens was a cave bear jaw with a loose tooth , so it has been taken to the conservator to be stabilised, and I choose another bear tooth to replace it.

bear jaw with loose tooth

bear jaw with loose tooth

Once the records were as complete as possible I moved the specimens from plastic trays, to their own designated box, this move was then recorded on TMS.

Now these specimens are thoroughly documented, the school children of Leeds can learn about prehistoric megafauna from real specimens collected in the UK.