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The sculpture is kept in a controlled atmosphere and is rarely moved. The ivory is now very fragile and it is feared that it could "turn to dust" if it were treated roughly. Unlike the mammoth spear thrower, the reindeer sculpture has no practical purpose, and is considered to be the oldest piece of art in any British museum.<ref name=trans/>
of the reindeer==
These finds came from the late Ice Age, which [[Henry Christy]] and [[Edouard Lartet]] originally called the "age of the reindeer".<ref>[https://books.google.com/books?id=uOzejz5zUTQC&pg=PA200&lpg=PA200&dq=christy+%22age+of+the+reindeer%22&source=bl&ots=_V-KyACm21&sig=OuZbwtO-E2M7tmx-YwUz2dViUpI&hl=en&ei=Y5xdTK3pI5-y0gTaveHRBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CBkQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=christy%20%22age%20of%20the%20reindeer%22&f=false Europe p.200], [[Peter N. Peregrine]], Melvin Ember, accessed 7 August 2010</ref> This is notable as the carving of mammoth ivory depicted reindeer and the mammoth spear thrower was carved from a reindeer antler. This fixes the coexistence of reindeer, mammoths and man at a time when this part of Europe had a climate similar to that in Siberia today.<ref name=trans/> Later this period became known as [[Magdalenian]] after the French cave called [[Abri de la Madeleine]] where similar art to the Swimming Reindeer were found.