Chips with that….?


So my boots were heavier than Neil Armstrongs, my coil was picking up sweet diddly, the rain was running down my neck and the wind was whipping away at my ears….I had found nothing, of course, and I trudged back towards home swinging the detector in a “cant be bothered” style…Then my eyes saw a beautiful flint knife/blade lying right on the top of the plough soil.

Just take a while to look at this little beauty  – it makes me smile every time  I see it:

Mesolithic Blade - Reverse

Notice the retouching on the right hand side of the blade, there at least a dozen tiny little “chips” applied by the maker to ensure the blade edge was sharp enough to cut, trim or score efficiently. Even today the edge will leave marks if dragged across the skin.

What is also fascinating are the signs of microwear running diagonally down to the chipped edge.  Undoubtedly this tool was used heavily before it was lost or discarded.

At the top of the implement you can make out the sheen of the bulb of percussion, caused when the original flint nodule, from which this blade came, was struck. The shock of the impact moving through the blade and causing this tell tale sign of worked flint.

The dozen or so "chips" down the edge of the blade

The piece is damaged at the lower end of the blade, curtailing its length by about another centimeter I would imagine. As it stands the blade measures 4.8cm in length and at it maximum its width is 1.5cm.

Obverse - Notice the vertical planes and striking platform at the top of the blade

The final photo above shows how the maker must have struck the core of flint a couple of times to bring about the “planes”  or “faces” of the blade, his or her striking platform can be clearly seen at the top of the blade. Again, the damage to the blade can be seen at the bottom where probably through use  the item was broken, the tip being snapped off.

So, I whilst I was cold and wet and depressed from not finding any hammered coins, or Saxon sword pommels this fascinating little piece did cheer me up last weekend. Dating from a time when Britain was becoming detached from  continental Europe, approximately 4500 – to 3500 BC, doubtless a band of roaming hunter gatherers, must have rested close by Sling Close, where a natural spring still pushes water from the ground and prepared a meal or dressed some skins.

I still want more metal finds – but something this special doesn’t half cheer one up 😉

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