Stone Age find by Bristol metal detecting enthusiast could be 6,000 years old
TOOLS used by some of the earliest farmers in Bristol more than 4,000 years ago have been found by a metal detecting enthusiast from Filton.
David Upton, 67, found the three small pieces from the Stone Age, which include an arrowhead, a stone axe head and a flint scraper, in a field in Frenchay.
Mr Upton, who has previously found precious coins and Roman artefacts, made this find without using his detector, but by simply using his eyes.
He was using his detector in a field near Frenchay Hospital when he noticed a nearby field, which he also has legal access too, had been ploughed by the farmer.
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"I know that sometimes when a field is ploughed it can bring rocks and other things to the surface," said Mr Upton, who does not want to disclose the exact location of his find.
"I decided to go and have a look and saw some flint. I've been doing this for 30 years and knew flint was rare."
Mr Upton took his finds to Bristol City Museum to have them examined by Kurt Adams, finds liaison officer for Avon and Gloucestershire.
Mr Adams said the find was extremely rare and was important in terms of history.
"Bristol was not an area where flint was produced and this find fits with the idea that people were living in small farming tribes who moved on when they could no longer produce food from the same ground," he said.
"The flint could have been brought in from North Wales or maybe from Wessex.
"People had just taken up agriculture as a way of life and started living together in small communities – they would also sometimes roam around following a herd.
"The polished stone axe head Mr Upton found is an especially rare find.
"The axe would have been used to chop down trees and was quite symbolic.
"The image of the axe was carved into other items and was sometimes used in ceremonies.
"The arrowhead Mr Upton found would have been used to kill animals and the flint scraper was for skinning them.
"It is very rare for someone to find these sorts of artefacts."
The tools Mr Upton found are thought to date from the Neolithic era or New Stone Age which lasted from 4,000 to 2,000BC – the time when people took up agriculture as a way of life and stopped being nomadic hunter-gatherers.
Mr Upton is not yet sure whether he will try and sell the items or give them to a museum. Their value is not yet known.