Evidence suggests that the landscape around Arbor Low was used for thousands of years, even before the henge and barrows were built(read more)
'Discoidal' flint knife
DERSB : 3241
Flint knife found at Arbor Low, 4,500-3,500 years old. (Late Neolithic or Bronze Age)
In its simplest form, a flint knife is a flake of stone modified to make an effective cutting and sawing tool. This stone has been worked to a greater extent to make an effective tool knapped into a disc shape and the edges polished for sharpness. A round knife gives the longest possible cutting edge, and it can simply be rotated as one part blunts. However, it would have made the knife difficult to hold. During the Neolithic more and more elaborate tool forms emerged, including knives like these. These objects still had practical uses, but they may have also helped people to express their indentity or importance in society.
This tool was purchased from a local farmer by Micah Salt in 1897. Micah Salt (1847-1915) was a tailor in Buxton who had a great interest in archaeology. This was usually a hobby of the elite and he was described, rather condescendingly, in a contemporary journal, as "an intelligent tradesman". Salt excavated many burial mounds (known as 'lows' in the Peak District) around Buxton, and acquired finds from local farmers and landowners. His findings were published in many academic journals; these reports were collated by W Turner and published in 1899 as Ancient Remains near Buxton: The Archaeological Explorations of Micah Salt. This book records many of the first objects that were given to the museum.
Many stone tools have been found in the landscape around Arbor Low, suggesting this was an important focal point for prehistoric people, but no one really knows why or what people did there. Did people gather here seasonally to meet each other and celebrate festivals? The earthen bank and ditch of the henge were built around 4,500 years ago and can be seen from miles away. Around 500 years later a circle of large stones was added, hidden from view by the bank of the henge. Archaeologists are still debating whether or not the stones stood upright.
- Description: height 11mm; width 74mm; length 97mm; depth 3mm; diameter mm
- Rights: Creative Commons CC BY-NC 4.0 Buxton Museum and Art Gallery (part of Derbyshire County Council)