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1 September 2004
Artefacts from Mellor archaeological dig on display

A perfectly-preserved 4,000-year-old flint dagger unearthed at the dig in Mellor, Stockport (England), is being hailed as one of the most significant finds of its type in the region. The find is even more remarkable as the archaeological site that had been buried for thousands of years was only discovered by chance. Evidence of the hidden site was spotted because it happened to emerge in the garden of amateur historian Anne Hearle during the long, dry summer of 1995, one of the hottest summers in the past 10 years.
     The find was so important that the Heritage Lottery Fund and Stockport council provided money for excavations to begin in 1998. Volunteers have since raised thousands of pounds to unlock more of the site's secrets. But the 12cm long flint dagger dug from the mud by Peter Noble has exceeded all expectations. Manchester University archaeologist John Roberts said: "This dagger is an astonishing piece. I have worked on sites all over the country for 18 years and I have never seen anything so beautiful. Daggers like this have been found in the region before, but they are very rare, especially in this condition. Everyone is thrilled to bits."
     It's thought the dagger may have been included in a burial chamber on the site. Volunteers from the Mellor Archaeological Trust have been working at the site alongside professionals from Manchester University for six years. Artefacts from the Stone and Bronze Ages, an Iron Age pot, and items left from the Roman period have been uncovered. Historians say the finds prove the site has been occupied for 10,000 years.
     Experts had long suspected that there was an important site near Mellor church, on the hill above Mellor village, but were unable to find it until Anne Hearle's chance discovery. Mrs Hearle said: "The dagger was found in the field next to my garden. When it was found there was real excitement, everyone is bowled over."
     The dagger and other artefacts discovered in the Mellor archaeological dig will be on display at an open day at the site on September 4 and 5.

Source: Manchester Online (31 August 2004)

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