In the sunshine of last August, ACA ran a community excavation at the medieval motte site of Mount Bures in Essex. A strong sense of cameraderie soon built between the volunteers working on trenches at the foot of the motte, digging through compact layers of gravel in the hot weather. Helping to make the hard work worthwhile was the discovery of this large-leaf arrowhead from trench 3. It dates from the early Neolithic, at a time in Britain which pre-dates agriculture and permanent settlement, and serves as a striking reminder that the people who made and used it would have lived a hunter-gatherer subsistence dependent on the skill of flint-knappers to create objects which aided the killing and butchering of wild animal herds. In the same soil context, a much later sherd of Bronze Age pot was also found, suggesting that this area was occupied at various points of prehistory. This may mean that the medieval motte was built on an earlier mound and focal point in the landscape.
We are often asked about how to identify man-made tools and their waste flakes from naturally occuring flint flakes. When excavating the chalks and glacial tills of East Anglia, we frequently find flint nodules and flakes which have been struck off by natural processes of erosion and weathering or more recent building dressing and the deep ploughing of agricultural machinery today. An excellent identification guide for prehistoric flint objects can be downloaded from the Leicestershire County Council website here for you to see how many of the diagnostic features you can observe in the photographs of the Mount Bures arrowhead.