Stanton on the Wolds Parish Council
1: Prehistory of Stanton on the Wolds
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a). A ground and polished Neolithic flint axe: Flint, and the very similar mineral chert, is quite commonly found in the village fields, probably brought to this area by glaciers during the ice ages. Whilst flint is extremely resistant to weathering it is easily worked to give a variety of sharp-edged tools. Broken pieces of flint picked up in a field need careful examination to eliminate the flakes produced as a result of frost damage or the effects of cultivation by ploughing and tilling, before they can be assigned as the work of early man. Worked flint often has evidence of repeated flaking with scalloped edges (called re-working) typical of many types of flint tool. Pieces of flint with a flat-top and bottom with scallop patterns down the side, where the flint has been hit on the working platform to produce useable flakes, are known as ‘cores’. Leaf shape, round-ended and tanged arrow heads are sometimes found. The most spectacular ‘finds’ made of flint are certainly the polished flint axes, adzes, sickles, gouges and chisels. Each culture from the earliest Palaeolithic, the Mesolithic, Neolithic and through into the late bronze age, all have typical flint tools associated with that culture.
Within this parish by far the most spectacular stone tool that has been found is this splendid ground and polished flint axe head. The discovery of this axe around 1954, by the late husband of Mrs Ida Wallis of Stanwold Kennels, was reported to the University of Nottingham Department of Archaeology (Ref 1). In 2006, after the axe was photographed for the parish history book, it was re-photographed, measured, weighed and described by the Regional Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme run by the British Museum. For the detailed report please go to http://www.finds.org.uk
b). A Neolithic hut floor: Prior to this discovery, Mrs K. M. Bird of the Rectory on Browns Lane found a few worked flints in a sandpit on the south side of Browns Lane in 1938, where the sand was being dug out for use in the bunkers on the nearby golf course. Two more flints were spotted a couple of days later in the soil excavated for a new grave in the churchyard next door to the Rectory. Shortly afterwards eleven more flints were discovered in her own garden, where it appeared that the previous resident had dug a three foot deep trench each spring to cultivate his exhibition sweet peas. Mr and Mrs Bird decided to excavate the area where the flints had been found in their garden.
A saucer-shaped depression of black peaty earth with charcoal was found and traced. The feature was circular with a diameter of 24 feet and varied from 6 inches thick at the rim to 18 inches at the centre, approximately four feet below ground level. It had a group of 10 fire-crazed oval stones near the centre probably forming a hearth. Dr G Clark suggested this was the floor of an early Neolithic hut dating to the 4th millennium BC. Careful excavation and sieving of the entire black earth floor recovered 200 flint artefacts with teeth and bone fragments of sheep, pigs, cattle and dog.
The excavation was written up and published in the Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire. (Ref 2) The Thoroton Society has very kindly given permission for the reproduction of the cross section and plan drawings of the hut circle.
The following line drawings showing some of the flint tools recovered during the excavation were drawn by Dr Patricia Phillips of Sheffield University and are reproduced here by kind permission of the Thoroton Society (Ref 3). The black bar = 1cm
70 is an un-retouched plain flake.
48 & 89 are un-retouched facetted flakes struck off prepared platforms.
83 & 99 are un-retouched blades.
71 & 124 are nuclei or cores from which blades have been struck off.
103 is a lozenge arrow head.
33 is a round scraper.
96 is a plane plane.
152 is a burin
110 is a fabricator
121 is a notched blade flake
c). A Langdale Type VI greenstone axe: Other evidence of early man's activities have been found around our village. During the construction of the new driveway for Stanton Farm in 2007, part of an igneous greenstone Neolithic stone axe head was brought to the surface and was found on one of the heaps of sub-soil. Derby Museum confirmed that it was a Langdale Type VI stone axe dating to 3,500-3,000BC. This type of axe was produced in the stone axe factories of Great Langdale in the Lake District. Professor D.M.S.Watson first found several partly worked axe heads in an erosion channel in the peat in the 1920s. Subsequently the parent greenstone rock was found to occur at the head of the valley leading up to Pike o' Stickle. The loose scree on the south face below the Pike was found to have hundreds of partly worked rough-outs that had been rejected as unsuitable because of imperfections in the stone. Some 25 sites are known throughout England and Wales where Neolithic man was producing quantities of stone tools. In a recent review (Ref 4), of the 903 known stone axes found in the East Midlands, the Type VI Great Langdale was by far the most frequent of the various types at 40% of the total.
d). A Palaeolithic flint core: A worked flint nucleus or core was found during field ditching at Hill Farm in 2007. Cores were made from large flint pebbles. The pebble would have been struck using either a stone or sometimes an antler to remove the top and bottom of the stone. This would have left a flat striking platform at either end. The striking platform was then struck repeatedly around the edge to produce thin flint flakes. These were then worked further to form arrow heads, scrapers, burins or other stone tools. The core consists of white, cream and yellow flint showing evidence of flakes having been struck off in 6 places. It is not possible to date flint tools accurately however it could date back to 8,000BC
The black bars represent cms.
e). A Neolithic knapped and partly polished flint axe: A small partly polished orange-brown flint axe. The length is 97mm, the width is 47mm and thickness is 21mm. The axe has a double convex cross-section with a thin butt. The broad end tapers uniformly towards the butt. The main body and butt were left rough as knapped but the blade third has been edge ground and polished. After an initial period of use the blade edge has undergone retouch to re-sharpen the cutting edge but this 'repair' was not then repolished. The axe has been assigned to the Neolithic period with an estimated age of 3,500BC to 2,100BC. Please see 'February 2010' under "Latest News" for details of its discovery.
1) East Midlands Archaeological Bulletin 1964
2) Trans. Thorot. Soc. of Nottinghamshire; volume LXXVI 1972 pages 4 to 8, “A prehistoric hut-floor at Stanton on the Wolds, Nottinghamshire” by A. J. and K. M. Bird.
3) Trans. Thorot. Soc. of Nottinghamshire; volume LXXVI 1972 pages 9-12 “The flint artefacts found at Stanton on the Wolds, Nottinghamshire” by Dr. Patricia Phillips.
4)"The petrological identification of stone implements from the East Midlands:third report." by McK Clough T. H. and Cummins W.A.
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