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6,000 year-old knife dug-up at allotments

Jenny Naylor, with the neolithic stone knife, found on her plot at Cemetary Fields Allotments, Sowerby.

Jenny Naylor, with the neolithic stone knife, found on her plot at Cemetary Fields Allotments, Sowerby.

A gardener almost lost the plot when she dug up a 4,000 BC pre-historic artefact on her Sowerby allotment.

Jenny Noble, secretary of Cemetery Fields Allotment Association, was digging on her allotment when she noticed the 6,000 year-old Neolithic flint knife.

The find is significant because it is the lowest level site of flint artefact discovery in Calderdale - 106 metres above sea level. All previous recorded lithic finds were 250 metres above sea level located in the Ringstone Edge Moor, Barkisland and Gorple Upper Reservoir areas.

Local pre-historian Brian Howcroft said: “To date, it was generally believed the valley bottoms were too thickly wooded and boggy for low level movement. It shows Neolithic natives used the river Calder as a mode of transport.”

Mr Howcroft said 99.9 per cent of people wouldn’t have noticed the 4cm opaque knife which would been used to skin animal hide for clothing.

Ms Noble said: “It just shows what you can find. I couldn’t believe it. I noticed the knife as low sun light glowed through the opaque flint.

“You can feel the history as you turn it in your hands.”

Since the initial discovery, five other pieces of flint including a fire crackled flint graving tool manufactured from white Wolds flint have been discovered down at the newly unearthed allotments.

Mr Howcroft said: “It’s quite possible other lithic artefacts may be found as the soil is turned over by spade or with heavy rains.”

On March 20, the Neolithic knife will be on display at Banksfield Museum, Boothtown. Ms Noble will donate the artefact of history to Heptonstall museum for the public to marvel at.

 

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