Cheshire Find of the Month – May 2022

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.

LVPL-7D541C – An early to middle Neolithic leaf-shaped flint arrowhead from Cheshire. (c) National Museums Liverpool.

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.

Distribution of Neolithic Leaf shaped arrowheads reported to the PAS (c) National Museums Liverpool.

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

The Poole Hoard (part 4)

The Poole Hoard on display at Congleton Museum

The Poole Hoard is made up of 1496 Roman nummi, 5 debased radiates and a few fragments of pottery. The hoard was found in 2016 and excavated by archaeologists from the Museum of Liverpool alongside the local FLO.

You can find out about the discovery in our first blog of the series The Poole Hoard 2016 T325.

Our second blog, The Poole Hoard Continued (part 2) and our third blog Martinian and Fausta emerge from the Poole Hoard (part 3) – we really need to work on our catchy blog titles! – focuses on the work of the conservation department at the British Museum.

The Poole Hoard and the Cheshire Hoards side by side at Congleton Museum

The Hoard was jointly acquired by the Museum of Liverpool and Congleton Museum. Along with the Cheshire Hoards which were previously acquired jointly by the two museums, the Poole Hoard is a touring hoard which moves between several local museums. To find out where it is up to now contact the archaeology team at the Museum of Liverpool.

At the Museum of Liverpool we are hosting #MuseumFutures trainee, Abbie Brennan, as part of a British Museum partnership project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF). You can read more about Abbie’s work in her Museum Futures blog. Abbie along with a number of volunteers have been doing some fantastic work photographing and cataloguing the Poole Hoard. Abbie was then able to help put the hoard on display alongside the Museum of Liverpool’s Curator of Archaeology and the Historic Environment, Liz Stewart, at Congleton Museum.

MOL.208.75.276 Obverse: Fausta, Reverse: Fausta (as Salus) cradling her two sons- Constantine II and Constantinus II, Minted in Trier – Photographed & edited by Abbie Brennan

Museum Futures trainee Abbie Brennan helping to install the coin hoard at Congleton Museum

The Finds Liaison Officer (FLO) runs a Finds Day every three months from 10.30-15.30 at Congleton Museum so you have the perfect excuse to drop in, check out the hoards and record your finds! Contact FLO Heather Beeton for details of the upcoming finds days.

Finds from Home

Coming from Ireland but working in England I particularly enjoy when finds have a connection with home. The North West and Ireland have always had links and it should be of no surprise then when objects are handed in for recording which have been found in the North West with strong Irish parallels or links.

Tonight I’ve been working on an object which I recorded recently from Cheshire East, a rare socketed heeled sickle of Iron Age date, LVPL-23E5CF.

Early Iron Age sickle (LVPL-23E5CF) Copyright: Portable Antiquities Scheme. Licence: CC-BY.

The sickle is in three pieces and has been irregularly broken during antiquity. On one face of the object the heal, in line with the socket, is decorated with a squirly circlet decoration. When researching the sickle I found that it is the only socketed example currently on the PAS database. Immediately I contacted my fellow FLOs Peter and Dot who have an interest in the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age. They directed me a similar example in Norwich County Museum which may have been created in the same mould. Then during the course of her research Dot spotted another parallel illustrated on p.14 of P.W Joyce, A Reading book in Irish History. Eager to find out more I emailed the National Museum of Ireland who got back to me straight away with a bit more information about their object. The Irish sickle was discovered in Westmeath and catalogued by William Wilde.

 

A spectacular Cheshire find now in the Museum of Liverpool is the Huxley Hoard, LVPL-C63F8A.

The Huxley Hoard (LVPL-C63F8A) Copyright: Museum of Liverpool. Licence: CC-BY-SA.

A hoard of silver bracelets with flat, punch-decorated bands belong to a well-known Hiberno-Scandinavian type found distributed in areas around both sides of the Irish Sea and produced in Ireland during the second half of the 9th and first half of the 10th centuries. The hoard like that from Cuerdale was probably part of a war chest belonging to the Vikings driven from Dublin by the Irish to settle in the Wirral, Lancashire and Cumbria at the beginning of the 10th century.

 

Early Medieval Irish mount (LVPL-D35B84) Copyright: Copyright: Portable Antiquities Scheme. Licence: CC-BY.

This mount from Doddington, Cheshire East LVPL-D35B84 is another great example of Irish metalworking and the decoration can be compared to mounts from the ‘near Navan’ hoard for which an eighth-ninth century date was suggested. Again probably brought to England due to Viking activity.

Objects connect us with people and places and figuring out their stories is a great way to connect us to the past and for me, to home.