The subject of this month’s find of the month is a Neolithic Leaf shaped arrowhead (c.4000BC-2900BC) from Helsby, Cheshire West and Chester. Recorded under LVPL-7D541C.
Arrowheads of this type are not uncommon as around 485 examples have been recorded on the PAS database with clusters appearing in the east midlands and northeast Lincolnshire. Despite this, very few have been recorded in the Cheshire region whilst being found widely across most of the country.
The arrowhead was found by chance after heavy rainfall on Helsby hill, a site known for its Iron Age hillfort. Although there are only two arrowheads of this type recorded from Cheshire, excavation reports from the region close to Helsby Hill show that they are found more commonly than the database suggests. Excavations and fieldwalking dating back to the 1950s have uncovered many Neolithic leaf-shaped arrowheads at sites including, Harrol Edge, Riley Bank Farm, Kelsborrow Hillfort and even another example found at Helsby Hill in 2008. Finds like this highlight a bias in the PAS database towards metallic objects as most items are found by metal detectorists, creating an over representation of metal finds. Lithics are therefore less likely to be picked up and recorded creating areas of apparent scarcity, despite archaeological excavations revealing this isn’t the case. The lack of recorded leaf shaped arrowheads in the Cheshire region makes this arrowhead a find of regional interest and a valuable addition to the PAS database.
References: Garner, D. and Brooks, I. (2016) Hillforts of the Cheshire Ridge. Archaeopress.
Author: Aedan Jones – Kickstart Trainee (Archaeology Collections and Engagement), Museum of Liverpool