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17 July 2004
Neolithic axe identified after 20 years

A Stone Age axe has been uncovered - in a wardrobe. Dating from the Neolithic period, the 6,000-year-old axe is intact and in pristine condition. John O'Conner kept the tool in his wardrobe for 20 years after finding it while laying pipes in a Bolton (Lancashire, England) field. It was only after reading an article into prehistoric finds at Lymm by archaeologist James Balme that John remembered the piece of stone.
     John said: "I was working as a contractor laying a pipe across a field in Westhoughton when I noticed a strange stone lying in the trench. I picked it up and threw it in the van. I had no idea what it was. I put it in the wardrobe and forgot about it. When I read about James I realised that maybe this stone was more important than I had thought." He added: "I was astounded to find it was a complete and undamaged Neolithic axe and one of the best examples I have ever seen. It is every archaeologist's dream to hit upon such a find."
     The axe is considered a "very important discovery" and a vital piece of evidence of the stone-age history of the area.

Source: Manchester Online (14 July 2004)

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