Volunteers working with Jane Ellis-Schon on the Finding Pitt-Rivers Project and with Richard Henry, the Finds Liaison Officer, have had the opportunity to visit the farm and museum run by Martin Green, local archaeologist. Here is Alyson’s account of a recent day there…
A fascinating day at Down Farm with Martin Green telling us about flints. Who knew that flints were created by gelatinous dead glass sponges melting down to fill holes in the sediment to create flint nodules? Martin is an expert and gave an easy to understand overview of the chronology of flint use by humans. It is wonderful to touch ancient flints or lithics (hence palaeolithic, mesolithic and neolithic being known as the Stone Age) and feel the tools that were shaped by people from so long ago. Martin gave a flint knapping demonstration and we were able to look round his museum at the artefacts he has acquired over nearly 50 years of collecting. The day included a walk round his farm on Cranborne Chase to look at the prehistoric sites there and to spend some time at his peaceful millenium pond with its wildlife and flowers. A lovely day, and we learnt so much.
Volunteers Jenny Mawer, Claire McHardy and Alyson Tanner admire a hand-axe which was expertly crafted by Martin Green as they watched. Flints tools like this, created today, must be disposed of carefully so as not to confuse the historical evidence all around us.
Alyson and Volunteer Mark Brandon concentrate on Martin Green’s talk which was full of interest and some surprises. One Volunteer was heard to say that all the questions she had ever had about flints had been answered in the space of an hour!