The third archaeology object we are featuring to celebrate this week’s annual Festival of Archaeology (11-19 July), run by the Council of British Archaeology (CBA), is a Neolithic leaf shaped flint arrowhead.
The arrowhead was discovered during excavations in the 1920s and 1930s at the site of Whitehawk Camp, a Neolithic Causewayed Enclosure on Whitehawk Hill, on the eastern edge of Brighton. This 5,600-year-old monument is a series of at least four concentric rings of ditches and banks, which cover a total area of around 6 hectares; at the time of its use the white chalk banks must have been visible from far and wide.
It is suggested the Whitehawk Causewayed Enclosure was used periodically for celebratory purposes, where communities gathered to feast and possibly worship, but also for funerary purposes. The remains of four complete human burials have been found in the ditches including the bodies of an eight-year-old child and a young woman buried alongside the remains of her new-born child.
Due to the professionalism of the excavations during which this arrowhead was discovered, it is meticulously recorded where it was found. The arrowhead is made from a flint flake, retouched with much skill into the distinctive leaf shape that gives it its name. The arrowhead would have been hafted into the end of a wooden arrow shaft and probably used for hunting.
Explore other objects in our Festival of Archaeology series
Heather York, Curator