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The Cave Hunters and the Truth Machine

The Cave Hunters and the Truth Machine

Throughout the human story, we have used animal bones and caves to peer into the future. In dreams, rituals and modern science, they have functioned as time machines for people in search of answers to fundamental questions of survival. 

Professor Danielle Schreve is gathering new insights into how species respond to climate change, through her excavation of Gully Cave in Somerset's Mendip Hills. Layer by layer, she is journeying back in time through the cave earth to reveal the remains of Ice Age animals. The light they shed on their world helps us predict future impacts of the climate and biodiversity crises in ours.

Visual artist and filmmaker Sean Harris uses animation as vessel for his exploration of Danielle’s story, the researchers who came before and those who now follow her. Assembled from bones held in museum collections, his menagerie of cave beasts leads us on a journey. Beginning with the mythology of the Old Testament, they chart the emergence of our modern understanding of climate and environmental change.   

Schreve and Harris’ collaboration pushes against the boundaries contemporary society has erected between art and science. Both, after all, are processes through which we discern truth and find meaning in our world.


This exhibition is open from 17 April - 28 July 2024 in the Davison Exhibition Space.

Find out how to visit below:

The exhibition will be open 10am-6pm, every day.

The exhibition is held in the Davison Exhibition Space, in the Emily Wilding Davison Building on our Egham campus.

Enter the Davison Building to access the large open atrium. The Exhibition Space is on the wall facing the silver library barriers, look out for the Cave Hunters window sticker.

A map of campus can be accessed here.

Visitors can use the following address to travel to campus:


Royal Holloway University

Egham Hill



TW20 0EX


The nearest train station is Egham station (25 mins walk), and 441 and 500 buses stop on the A30 next to campus.

Click here for further guidance on how to get to campus.

The Exhibition Space is step-free, with benches available throughout the space.

Large print booklets will be available for your visit, and an audio description legacy will be made available online.

There are toilets available in the Davison Building atrium next to Cafe on the Square, and a water point is accessible past the silver library barriers and to the left after the stairs. 

Please note that this exhibition contains a section which will not be lit, and will feature a projection which has accompanying loud noises as part of the soundtrack.

Whilst you are on campus, why not explore our heritage services?

The Picture Gallery is open to the public from 10am-3pm on Wednesdays in terms 1 and 2.

Archive appointments can be booked with our Archivist on Tuesdays and Thursdays by emailing

Art store appointments can be booked with our Art Collections team all week by emailing

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