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8 December 2003
English farmer unearths Ice Age trowel

A primitive tool made during the last Ice Age some 8,000 years ago has been discovered in a Lincolnshire field (England). Known as a perforated stone, it is believed the tool was used for digging up roots by people living between 6200 and 4500 BCE. The stone is oval and features a hole piercing the centre which has been made with an early grinding technique using wood and sand.
     It was discovered by a farmer lying on top of a cultivated field near Owston Ferry, north of Gainsborough. Once cleaned, the stone was reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme - a project which records archaeological artefacts found by the public.
     Finds liaisons officer Kurt Adams said "The hole was made using a stick and some sand - by gradually grinding the stick and sand onto the same spot a hole is formed. The centre of the hole is narrow and widens towards the top and bottom. This is because the grinding method would have been used on either side of the stone."
     The stone is pebble-like, greyish brown, measures 7cm long, 5cm wide, 2cm thick and weighs around 95 grams. Mr Adams said: "The pictorial evidence suggests that Mesolithic man would have attached the stone to a stick. The stick would have simply been put through the hole and would have been held in by force alone. Originally it was thought they were used as a weapon but more recently it is believed the perforated stone was used like a trowel."
     Findings from the Mesolithic age are rare. The population of Britain was around 200,000 and there were only 150 to 200 settlements.

Source: This is Lincolnshire (4 December 2003)

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