Neolithic axe head found in Tiddington

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Pete Ashfield with the 6,000-year-old Stone Age axe head he found in Tiddington. Photo: Mark Williamson.

A 6,000-year-old Stone Age axe head has been unearthed by an eagle-eyed dog walker in Tiddington.

Pete Ashfield, 50, stumbled across the Neolithic axe whilst walking his rescue dog Archie in a ploughed field in Tiddington.

Pete, who has an interest in archaeology, was stunned to find out that the axe head, which was sitting on top of the ground, could date as far back as 4,000BC.

Pete said: “I often walk with my head down, I noticed it and I went back and picked it up. I have an interest in history and archaeology so I realised what it was straight away, it stood out because it wasn’t local stone.

“It was just on top of the ground, it must have recently been ploughed up. I took it straight home and called Warwickshire Museums, who asked me to explain what it was and send a few pictures in of it. They took it in for a few weeks to examine and they’ve given me a full report on it.

“I was so shocked when they told me how old it was, it’s Neolithic and dates back somewhere between 2,500BC-4,000BC. I was told that this was the era when trade was expanding, which explains why it isn’t local and was probably used to cut down trees to enable farming.

“When I told my family about it they were very excited, it’s certainly provoked a bit of interest. They are currently doing up Warwick Museum and they have a section for local finds so I agreed that they could put the axe head on display, which they are very happy about. It’s much better if it is out on display for everyone to look at, I could show friends and family at home but it would be a shame if it just ended up being kept in a box.”

Pete Ashfield and his dog Archie with the 6,000-year-old Stone Age axe head he found in Tiddington. Photo: Mark Williamson.
Pete Ashfield and his dog Archie with the 6,000-year-old Stone Age axe head he found in Tiddington. Photo: Mark Williamson.

Sara Wear, curator of human history at Warwickshire Museum, added: “I think that a lot of people think most finds that are not gold or silver are a bit mundane, just bits of brown pottery. However every now and again finds like this emerge that are treasures in themselves because of what they reveal about Warwickshire’s past.

“It takes a lot of time and effort to shape and polish a hard stone like flint and, as flint is not a naturally occurring stone in Warwickshire, it shows this axe was transported quite a distance, to end up here. Both these factors and the fact this one is in very good condition, make this object a significant find.

“We’re re-opening the Market Hall museum in Warwick in February following a refurbishment funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. We’re really pleased that Peter has offered to let us display the axe and it will be one of the local items we will rotate in a display at Market Hall.”

The find underlines the strategic importance of Stratford and Tiddington’s relationship with the River Avon.

It is thought that the river would have provided a good source of food and transport.

This area is no stranger to important historic finds, back in 2009 the remains of a Roman soldier or centurion of African descent were discovered on Tiddington Road.