Stone Age axehead rediscovered

Whilst digging a pipe trench at Westhoughton near Bolton workman John Connor found an odd looking stone object. Whilst not knowing what it was he decided to keep it and on returning home he put it in a cupboard where it remained for the next 20 years or so.

shaped piece of stone tapering to a sharp point at one end

Top view of the Westhoughton stone axe

Two decades later, on reading an article in the Manchester Evening News about finds made by local amateur archaeologist James Balme, Mr Connor decided to dig out his stone and contact James. He immediately recognised it as a Neolithic polished axe dating to between 4500 and 2000 BC. James then contacted the Finds Liaison Officer at National Museums Liverpool, who made a full record of the axe for the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

shaped piece of stone, wider at one side (the cutting edge) than the other

Side view of the Westhoughton stone axe

The axe is not made from a local stone and was therefore imported into the area, perhaps even from the continent. It is known that there was a large-scale network of trade or exchange in such axes across Britain and Europe during the Neolithic period.