BIRKRIGG COMMON IN THE STONE AGE

Archaeological evidence indicates that Birkrigg Common has been inhabited for several thousand years, at least since Neolithic times. In the Stone Age (3000 - 1800 BC) the Furness Peninsula was heavily involved in the finishing and distribution of Langdale stone axes.....

Numerous axe heads (formerly called “celts”, but this means “chisel”) have been found in the vicinity of Birkrigg, including one at White Ghyll at the northern end of Birkrigg* in 1923 and four at Skelmore Heads (adjacent to Birkrigg) in 1959.

*This, and other antiquities relevant to Birkrigg, were kindly donated to the museum at Barrow-in-Furness, for the benefit of the community, but cannot be illustrated here as I would have wished. I was refused permission by the Dock Museum to photograph the items.

Thanks to J. Miall for this splendid photo of a Langdale axe with well-preserved shaft, found in Cumbria at Ehenside Tarn....

 

Roughed out axes were brought to Furness for polishing using the local sandstone and sand from the shore, so there have been numerous finds:-

The Cumbrian stone circles, like Swinside, Castlerigg and Long Meg, that are though to have been associated with this axe trade are some of the oldest in the country. Birkrigg (clearly linked to Swinside by the axe trade) could therefore well date from before 2200 BC, when the axe trade came to an end. The Birkrigg stone circle may have been a ceremonial meeting place associated with the export and trade of the finished axes to the rest of the country - it stands guard over an important route across the sands to the rest of the country......

 

 

 

 

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