Hollowed gritstone vessel or bowl from Sabden Fold. This artefact is commonly taken to have been a font used in Christian ceremonies. This may be the case were the vessel to have been used in covert Catholic meetings during the Early Modern period. However, the size, shape and style of the object closely resembles examples of Roman mortaria used for the grinding of olive oil, grain, herbs etc. This is furthered by the discovery of probable Roman pot fragments within the immediate area of the object site.

A small selection of the tools etc. found recently in Burnley, Pendle and Gisburn by members of the PDCAS

Sandstone tool found at Barrowford Watermeetings


The object fits the palm of the hand, between the index finger and thumb, and is suggested to have been a palm-guard for the purpose of stitching animal skins.


Arrows indicate a hole possibly worn by continually pressing a large ‘needle’ into heavy material (top image) and shallower indentations on the palm



Small pot found in  a ditch at The Holme, Higherford (Barrowford). The material is local gritstone clay of coil construction (not wheel thrown).


The pot has a green salt glaze typical of  the Medieval period although such glazes did occur at much earlier periods.  


Quern stone found above Admergill (Backo) by the author.


This type of saddle quern was used for grinding corn, herbs and pigments by the use of a hand-held rubbing-stone. In the Admergill example the base of the stone has been purposely shaped so as to be set in the ground and secured so that the grain could be ground in a circular motion until it was refined enough to be used as flour. The saddle quern  shape was created by the rubbing stone being used in a to-and-fro motion thus creating a long, flat shape (as opposed to a bowl shape).


It thought that the saddle quern dates to a period before the middle of the Iron Age as the rotary (or beehive) quern became the standard type of quern from this period onwards.  




Fossilised tree fern set within lining of stone cist on the Pendle Ridgeway.


Neolithic and Bronze Age burials were often accompanied by such ‘exotic’ examples of natural stone

Examples of  quern stones around the Barrowford Watermeetings area .




Small quern stone from Catlow - almost identical to example A (above centre)


     Quern rubbing stone found in landslip on Walverden Brook

Shale ‘blade’ - a type of manufactured ritual object seemingly designed primarily for grave deposition.


This example was found near to a small riverside cairn at Barrowford Watermeetings and is identical to Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age grave deposits found in Central Ireland

Neolithic  flint arrowhead, spearhead, knife and scraper

found on Shelfield Hill (Walton Spire) Nelson. (P. Whalley)   

Neolithic stone axe heads from the slopes of Boulsworth Hill

Hand axe deposited within small stone cairn at Barrowford Watermeetings. Note the hollow worn by the user’s thumb

                                 The Catlow ‘Scratch Stone’ is a rare local                                                    example of  portable rock art.






Iron axe head discovered in field at Southfield (Nelson).


The style is Scandinavian suggesting the axe may date to the early Medieval period

Scandinavian - ‘Viking’ style axe head

Lithic material from Cock Leach Farm. (Castercliffe)


Left - burnt black flint (flint was often heated in fires to make it easier to work)


Centre - greensand stone with black flint inclusion


Right - greensand flint

Lthics from Catlow. Green, black and white flint wasters surrounding a greenstone scraper  


Black Pendleside chert bar end scraper found at Barrowford Watermeetings. This local material  has similar properties to flint and was widely used during the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods.


Copper or bronze fragments discovered in a Middle Bronze Age farmstead enclosure ditch at Southfield (Nelson).

                            The object was possibly a vessel  used as a ritual deposit. (See Sites page)

Chalk with flint inclusions from Cock Leach Farm and Castercliffe.


This coarse non-native material is suited to tools for the working of skins, shaping wood and bone etc.  In other words they performed as rasps, files and sandpaper.

Bronze plumbob from the Roman period - identical to an example found in the ruins of Pompeii.


The object was found by metal detector beside a track in the same field at Southfield that a group of four Roman coins were found in 2012

Hollow tapered lead ‘tube’ found at Southfield - possible a Roman plumbob or stylus body

Run-off 'Jets' from a metal smelting furnace or kiln.


The example on the left is copper, centre is bronze and right is tin. These were found by J. Thorpe in a field near to Admergill Hall (Blacko) and represent a probable bronze smelting site


     Local Artefacts and Tools Discovered 2014-2015

Iron slag from the smelting process. Found on promontory of Ringstone Hill  - a possible iron smelting site.

Local sandstone object from the Catlow Bottoms hillfort site.


Appears to have been shaped for some purpose - the apparently incised lines are fine inclusion bands of silica.

Neolithic thumb scraper (heavily retouched) from Pendle Ridgeway (Newchurch-in-Pendle). Material - Pendleside chert .


Flint found on Will Moor (north of Lad Law - Boulsworth Hill).


Possible broken graving tool

More flint implements from Lad law - blades and scrapers.


                                                                                                                 Image - Nick Todd

Small axe head from Stang Top, above the village of Roughlee.


Form of volcanic Tuff


Tunic button found near Lane Bottom, Briercliffe - June 2015.


Material is silver plated pewter. The button carries the crest of the Dukes of Hamilton surmounted by the English crown.


It is probable that the object was worn by Scottish soldiers fighting on the Royalist side in English Civil War. In 1648 the Duke of Hamilton sent some 9,000 soldiers to support Charles I. As the Hamilton army moved south from Lancaster Cromwell and his Parliamentary forces headed west from Gisburn to cut them off. The Scots were routed at Walton le Dale (Battle of Preston) and the army scattered far and wide.


It is known that a Civil War skirmish took place in the vicinity of Haggate/Lane Bottom between local farmers and a small band of Royalist soldiers ( a number of the farmers were killed). It is very possible, then, that the tunic button was lost from the uniform of a Hamilton soldier during this fight and that the findspot represents the site of the skirmish.


Boulder from the Catlow Bottoms hillfort site. Thisis one of a group of similar large stones (around 1 metre across) that appear to have been worked.


This example displays chiselled  ‘half-swastika- designs (arrowed).

LINK to report

Image - right:  June 2015 - Two more examples of  the tool type in the above image. These are exactly the same length and shape and were found on flint manufacturing site at Gisburn.  


It would appear that these tools were manufactured in chalkland areas and traded.

Badly corroded head from a Roman fibula brooch found at Gisburn (June 2015).  The object probably dates from the 2nd century AD - these were manufactured in many metals from gold to iron.



More complete examples from the South

Artefacts 3



       John A Clayton