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21 January 2006
Neolithic axe head uncovered in Lancashire

History has been rewritten in Barnoldswick (East Lancashire, England) after a Neolithic axe head dating back 6,000 years was uncovered. Father and son Chris and Jordan Green were walking along Brogden Lane looking for Roman coins when they made their find, which has since been verified by the British Museum. The fact that people were living in the area back in 4000 BCE stunned the pair, as like most people they had always been led to believe that the first settlers in the area arrived in Anglo Saxon times in the days of Bernulfsuuick.
     Mr Green is very keen on historical artefacts, but admits he had no idea when he picked up the 'stone' that it would turn out to have such a historical significance for the area. "It was just another stone to me, but Jordan recognised the axe from the cutting edge," he said. The 11-year-old has never studied the Neolithic age at school, but he was so determined he was right in his identification that his dad took the axe head home and sent photographs of it to the British Museum. A curator there not only confirmed its authenticity, but was also able to tell the pair that the axe was around 6,000 years old and that the grey-green rock it was made from probably came from Great Langdale in the Lake District where rock was quarried extensively by Neolithic people.
     Axes made from "Langdale Tuff" were traded and exchanged widely in Britain in the Neolithic, but how it ended up in Barnoldswick is a mystery. "I still don't know whether things like this have to be handed in as treasure trove," said Mr Green. "If not, then I will probably donate it to a local museum as it proves that people were living here more than 4,000 years earlier than thought previously."
     Although broken, the axe head still has an excellent cutting edge on one side as well as wear through use on the other side.

Source: Barnoldswick & Earby Times (20 January 2006)

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