A polishing stone used by Neolithic humans discovered in England

A polishing stone used by Neolithic humans discovered in England

A polishing stone used by Neolithic humans was discovered in Dorset, located in the southwest of England.

The polishing stone is believed to be approximately 5,000 years old.

The ‘Polissoir’ discovered in the Stone Valley Nature Reserve was used approximately 5,000 years ago to sharpen tools such as axes.

According to an article in The Guardian, the polissoir discovered in the Stone Valley National Nature Reserve in Dorset is the second of its kind found in England and is considered a rare find as it was firmly embedded in the ground in its original location.

The polissoir was accidentally found by volunteers from Past Join CIC, a nonprofit company that helps people learn more about local heritage, while they were clearing brush to uncover hidden sarsen stones that had been concealed by vegetation for decades.

A general view of the Valley of Stones in west Dorset
A general view of the Valley of Stones in west Dorset. Photograph: JamesD/HistoricEngArchive/SWNS

Anne Teather and Jim Rylatt, directors of Past Join CIC, were working in another part of the valley when they decided to explore to see how they were getting on. Rylatt went there first and saw the rock. “It was a relatively neglected rock on one side,” he said. But then he brushed away some leaves and found a shiny, polished area. “To say I was surprised is an understatement. The only other thing found in situ in England was in the 1960s at Fyfield Down in Wiltshire.”

Rylatt said he enjoyed contemplating the ongoing work that took place there a long time ago. “There are more imposing stones here, but this one marked the spot for them. They must have spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours polishing here.”

This place may have been more of a working area rather than a living space. “There could have been people doing other things here, perhaps processing animal hides or cutting meat for dinner.”

Teather mentioned that the polissoir was located near an ancient route. “You can imagine people coming to the stone to polish their axes. This was definitely not a settlement; it was a place where people would come and work the stone.”

Stone axes were used by the early farming humans of the Neolithic period to clear forested areas and construct homes and monuments. Axes were made from various raw materials such as flint, volcanic tuff, and granite.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *