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3 April 2004
Rare stone axe found in Caithness

A rare stone axe has been discovered in a field at Castletown in Caithness, Scotland. The axe is 6000 years old and was found by George MacDougall during field-walking organised by the Caithness Archaeological Trust. The field-walking is part of a two-week programme involving experts and local volunteers, which has also uncovered 8000 year old flint tools at Thrumster.
     Dr Amelia Pannett, of Cardiff University, who is working as a consultant on the fieldwalking project, said "It is likely it would have been used for ritual or ceremonial reasons rather than as a practical tool as the stone would have been too soft to use in the cutting of trees or other plants. The cutting edge is also in near perfect condition, showing its lack of use. A knife made of flint was also collected, together with a fine arrowhead. Both would have been made and used by the earliest farmers in the county."
     Around 20 people took part in the field-walking, which also yielded habitation evidence related to a nearby Iron Age broch.

Source: John O'Groat Journal (2 April 2004)

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