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15 August 2009
Student discovers a Neolithic flint dagger in Suffolk

When Lydia Bareham first saw a piece of stone sticking out of the path in front of her, it looked like an ordinary piece of rock. But when the 16-year-old dug it out and wiped off the soil, she realised that she had uncovered an ancient flint tool. Miss Bareham was at work at the Southwold Maize Maze (Suffolk, England) when she came across the flint - which could date back more than 4,000 years- partly buried in one of the paths which leads visitors around the attraction. After comparing its sharp point, worked edges and thin handle to photographs of similar implements on the internet, she believes that the flint could be a Neolithic dagger or knife, made by ancient settlers in the Blyth valley thousands of years ago.
     Other tiny pieces of flint have previously been found in the maze, which is on a working farm in Reydon, just outside Southwold, but nothing worked into an arrowhead or knife has ever been seen there. Miss Bareham said: "This would have been a perfect site for an ancient settlement because it is right by the river, which was once very busy with boats sailing in from the sea at Southwold and going as far as Halesworth, so there would probably have been people living right here."
Next week, she is going to take the flint dagger to be examined by experts at Suffolk County Council's archaeology unit in Bury St Edmunds, who she hopes will be able to confirm its age and use.
     Bella Hall, who runs the maize maze at Old Hall Farm, said that once more is known about the tool, she is planning to donate it to the Southwold museum, where other ancient finds from around the area are already on display -including some flints found in the eroding cliffs Easton Bavents, just north of Southwold.
     Southwold Maize Maze, off the A1095 Halesworth Road in Reydon, is open daily until September 2.

Source: EDP24 (15 August 2009)

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