REAPING TIME | Recent finds Aug-Sep 2018

In extensive field-walking we have recovered finds spanning the whole of prehistory, from the Ice Age around 12,000 years ago to the Bronze Age and perhaps Iron Age too. You can explore this in our archaeology timelines chart and suggested reading lists – mostly free downloads. Below are a few of our favourite finds so far, all recorded 3D using a GPS device so that we can plot spatial patterns and map surface finds against aerial images and the geophysical survey results which are due soon.

Related pages

About the project | Maps and satellite images | Finds and latest results »

Flint rod tool | Field 10, Small find 009

This flint artefact dates to Early Neolithic period, from around 3800 to 3500 BC. These were our first farmers, pottery-makers and monument builders.

The function of rods isn’t clear but this may have been a handy multi-purpose tool hafted into a wood, bone, horn or antler handle using mastic glue and twine or leather. For our area, flint is common in beach gravels and glacial boulder clay deposits and was exploited throughout prehistory and even in the post-medieval times for muskets and flintlock guns.

Flint leaf-shaped arrowhead | Field 7, Small find 015
This rather small example, missing only 1.5mm of its tip, also dates to the Early to Mid-Neolithic period. Since flint is plentiful at this time, the small size may relate to a more specialist purpose. It’s around a third the size of a normal arrowhead. Perhaps it was used for small game or wildfowl, or even blood-letting cattle or pigs. What do you think?
Flint thumbnail scraper | Field 6, Small find 014

Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age Beaker period flint thumbnail scraper, burnt (dating to around 2500-1800 BC), often associated with burials or cremations rather than practical functions. This find is from area close to a known and unexcavated Bronze Age burial mound (barrow) on the edge of Airy Hill’s plateau.

Stone whetstone or hone | Field 6, Small find 016

This fragment has smoothed and angled surfaces. It would have been used for sharping or smoothing either stone or metal tools, or even wood or bone due to its fine, abrasive properties. It most likely dates to a later prehistoric period, given the other finds in this field.

Field Observations

Something’s burning?

During our walk-over survey work some important field observations were recorded. The large oval enclosure (rather than a D-shaped enclosure), so prominent on LiDAR and aerial images, is also very visible in Field 2B – you can still walk around its large ditch and banks and see at last two entrances, together with large stone scatters and possible burnt clay in the ploughsoil. One 1m x 0.25m area at the base of a plough slot was cleaned to reveal burnt clay, charcoal fragments and possible stake holes and a single, eroded sherd of pottery. The cleaned area has been recorded with both images and a context sheet which describes the observations.

Is it Wet?

Elsewhere, one area of the ditch appears to be waterlogged and so holds potential for using an engine-driven auger to remove cores for environmental, finds and dating analysis. This is being planned for the Spring 2019 season, as well as coring the wetland area at Margrove Park below Airy Hill.

Stony ground

Some stone concentrations in Field 4, adjacent to the two known Bronze Age barrows (scheduled ancient monuments) and in Field 1 might, together with aerial image anomalies, also be remnants of previously unrecorded barrows or structures. Again, in Field 2B image right, there seem to be stone concentrations and possible structure platforms. We hope the geophysical survey results will reveal more!

Thank you for reading — more news soon!

– Spencer
Cleveland Archaeology Project Team