A Birthday Find!
Matthew Boulter from the Isle of Wight had loads to celebrate on 14th October 2015. It was his 5th birthday and he made an amazing discovery in the grounds of his school, Lanesend Primary School in Cowes.
A Bronze Age arrowhead!
Matthew's find was a complete Early Bronze Age barbed and tanged flint arrowhead! It was identified by Estelle Baker of the Heritage Education Service at Carisbrooke Castle Museum.
Estelle explained to Matthew that the arrowhead is at least 3,500 years old but could be up to 4,500 years old! It is in extremely good condition without any damage. The flint looks slightly red in colour and is almost like glass when held up to the light.
This type of arrowhead is described as being ‘barbed and tanged’. The barbs are the pieces of flint which stick out from the blunt end of the arrowhead and helped it to stick inside animals or bird when they were shot. The tang lies between the two barbs and was used to attach the arrowhead to a wooden shaft with thread or resin.
"I was looking at the ground. I thought I found a dinosaur tooth. It was an arrowhead. I'm happy because lots of people want to see it. The other children are trying to find arrowheads and fossils of dinosaurs!"
Bronze Age flints
In the Early Bronze Age, when this arrowhead was made, people knew how to use metal but some of their tools were still made of flint or stone. Flint tools were made by working or ‘knapping’ blocks of flint which were either dug out of the ground or found lying on the surface. A lot of flint can be found on the Isle of Wight, on the chalk hills in the middle of the island and close to the south-east coast. Flint ‘knapping’ is a very skilled task that takes a long time to learn.
Similar arrowheads to the one discovered by Matthew have been found in the grave of the Amesbury Archer on Salisbury Plain close to Stonehenge. The contents of this grave are now on display in Salisbury Museum
An even younger archaeologist...
Matthew’s arrowhead is one of the best flint tools ever found on the Isle of Wight and Matthew is one of the youngest people to report an archaeological find locally. However, he is not quite the youngest person! In 1938, a flint tool dating from the Palaeolithic period (Old Stone Age) was found on the south-west coast of the Isle of Wight by Master Gordon Bennett... and he was only 2 and a half years old at the time!
The Portable Antiquities Scheme
Matthew's amazing find was reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). The PAS records archaeological finds made by members of the public. If you make an archaeological find, you should report it to your local Finds Liaison Officer working for the PAS.
A full report about Matthew's marvellous arrowhead can be seen on the PAS database.
Also check out the PASt Explorers website. It's the PAS's website especially for kids, and is packed full of lots of information and games.