Large mudstone tool of the ‘Thames Pick’ type found by the author below the hillfort at Barrowford Watermeetings     Oct 2015.

It is clear that the Barrowford tool is identical in shape and form to the famous Thames Pick and is possibly the only other example of this size ever found!  

The pick/axe measures 14 inches in length by 4 inches in breadth at the axe end and weighs in at a hefty 6.5 pounds (850gms).

This was a serious tool with many uses ranging from working the land, working stone, defensive purposes (weapon) or for killing large game animals.

Dates from the Mesolithic through to the Neolithic - around 5000 to 8,000 years old.

The item was discovered in the river (Pendle Water) adjacent to the outer ditch of the White Lees hillfort (see the book Blacko - History and Archaeology - John Clayton   - . The surface retained a covering of compacted mud/clay showing it to have only recently entered the river - this suggests that it has not been in the river for long.

The surface displays abraded areas consistent with wear from constant gripping by hand and thumb.   



A small  silvered livery button found by disused trackway on the outskirts of Gisburn.

The Gothic-style inscription reads TL - this was Thomas Lister, 4th Baron Ribblesdale of Gisburne Parke. He was born in 1854 and died without a male heir in 1925 - he had two sons but both were killed on active service. He had a number of houses besides the Gisburn estate, including Malham (with 10,000 acres), a mansion in Edinburgh and a house in London. He was Lord-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria.

The button would have been part of the uniform of a member of the Gisburne Parke household. It could have fallen off during the person’s travels but, equally likely, buttons found their way into fields through the use of shoddy as a land improver. Old clothing was shredded and mixed with slurry before being spread on the land and it was often the case that not all buttons were removed during the shredding process during the shredding process. A nice piece of history relating to the last Lord of the manor - the final throws of the age-old ‘official’ feudal system.   

                                                                                                                        September 2015

Fairly rare example of a ‘barred’ horseshoe from Roman road near Nappa (Long Preston, Yorks). Has a ‘U’ section bar connecting the heel, probably to correct a problem with the horse’s hoof. Retains a number of nails with rectangular heads.

The width of the bars is remarkable and suggests that the show was possibly from an ox.

Probably dates from Late Medieval to around 1700?

September 2015

A lead ‘whirligig’ from  the Roman road near Nappa.

These were children’s toys used to make a buzzing/humming sound when string was pass through them and twisted. The string was looped around each hand and when the two strands were twisted by bringing the hands together and then pulling apart, the saw-edge disk would create a rising and falling hum.

Very common from Early Medieval to modern period.

September 2015

Sorted stone from Roman road near Newsholme, Gisburn.

The stones are sandstone and not, therefore, native to the dolomite limestone geology of this area. They are of a generally uniform size with larger boulders mixed in. They were recently removed from a small area of track and probably formed the metalling of a Roman road.  

October 2015

‘Pulley stone’ from Roman context near Nappa, Long Preston.

A number of grooves have been worn into this sandstone block suggesting it was used as a pulley. This may have occurred when the stone was in the fabric of the upper floor of a building in order to raise materials to the higher levels.


Alternatively, the stone was found within a stone wall near the gate of a Roman road and could have acted as an automatic gate closer. These are where rope is attached to a wooden gate and then run over the top of the gatepost - a weight is attached to the other end and this pulls the gate closed after it has been opened.

Late Medieval wall built across Roman road running

from Newsholme to Nappa.

The ‘pulley stone’ was found within this wall.

October 2015

The Thames Pick



A small selection of the tools etc. found recently in Burnley, Pendle and Gisburn by members of the PDCAS



     Local Artefacts and Tools Discovered 2014-2015

          John A Clayton          

           ARTEFACTS PAGE 6

Pendle Books

Stone at junction of two Roman roads, Newsholme.


The sandstone block displays a large number of linear scratch marks which are possibly a result of people sharpening weapons on it (this was common practice on  Roman direction and marker stones).


There is also a peculiar carved motiff on the flat surface which I took to be a clenched fist with index finger pointing out the direction.   

However, it has been pointed out that this could also be ancient graffiti representing the male wedding accoutrements!


Artefacts 6





Artefacts 7