History beneath our feet – June 2023

Words by:
Colin Smale
Featured in:
June 2023

Colin Smale shares some rare finds in the county.

Flint arrowhead
Find one of these in a field and you are whisked back 6,000 years to the Stone Age. The arrowhead shown here [PIC 1] was found near Wragby so I wonder what that hunter looked like, how he was dressed, what he was hunting for there. Just look at the workmanship in this little object, finely crafted to provide food.

Neolithic Lincolnshire offered plenty of wild meat in the form of boar, aurochs, red deer, roe deer, badger, etc, which makes me wonder: what did Wragby look like on this very spot so long ago? It really makes you think!

This Neolithic flint leaf-shaped arrowhead dates to ca 4,000-2,350BC. Length 30mm, width 14mm, thickness 2.6mm.

Drop Spindle Whorls
Drop spindle whorls have been in use from the Iron Age right through to the 16th century. The example here [PIC 3] is made of lead, but they were sometimes made from baked clay or even wood. The hole is usually slightly tapered so that the whorl can’t slip off when it is used on the bottom end of the spindle or slip down when it is used at the top.

Until you see one in use, it’s difficult to work out quite how they operated. It’s not until you notice the small hook on the top end of the spindle that all falls into place.

the spindle and created some wool/thread, what then? Well, the two or three feet of thread you have just spun is unhooked from the top of the spindle, wound around it, re-hooked and the whole process begins again.

You can watch the process online at: youtube.com/watch?v=7R0Lb1qA7kE

Gaping mouth beast buckle
Dating to the period ca 1,100-1,200 these medieval buckle types are known as ‘gaping mouth beast’ buckles. The one pictured, found near Saltfleet [PIC 2] is almost certainly 12th century. These buckles are copper-alloy and usually spherical in shape. It is generally accepted that the head is feline. It has been loosely suggested that this may have been a belt buckle and that the belt may have gone around the waist and then passed through the gaping mouth and then been knotted.

I am yet to be convinced of this but failing further evidence, we have to assume this is how it was used.
The buckle weighs 44g and is 34.0mm long and 28mm wide.

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