Stone Age



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The period of history from 100,000 BC to 2,000 BC is usually called the Stone Age. This is because the primary material for tools and weapons was stone or flint that could be worked into different objects.


The Stone Age is further subdivided into three periods :-


Palaeolithic (100,000-10,000 BC) – towards the end of this period, people inhabited Britain and were hunters and food gatherers. They seem to have organized themselves in family groups rather than larger tribes.


Mesolithic (10,000-4,000 BC) – when people began to make and use stone tools, as well as pottery.


Neolithic (4,000-2,000 BC) – when people stopped being nomads and began to grow crops and domesticate animals. 


During the last Ice Age, Shropshire was covered by ice up to 300 metres thick until about 20,000 years ago. The only part of Shropshire above the level of the ice was the Stiperstones Ridge. Prior to the ice arriving, the River Severn flowed northwards to the River Dee estuary. When it arrived, the water stopped flowing and, when the ice retreated, the meltwater was trapped and formed a series of large lakes, which eventually merged to form Lake Lapworth in present day Leicestershire. This lake overflowed to the South-East and the water carved out the Ironbridge Gorge, thus creating the present course of the River Severn.  At this time, there were mammoths living in Shropshire and the remains of four of these animals were found in a quarry at Condover in 1986. One was dated to around 12,700 years old.  It was possibly the existence of these animals that first attracted people to the county.

Britain was inhabited by Neolithic tribes between 4,000-2,500 BC and there is evidence of farming in Shropshire at this time. It is likely that they migrated up the Severn Valley. The earliest known Stone Age settlement in Shropshire is at the Roveries hill fort in South-West Shropshire, where excavations have revealed prior use dating back to the Neolithic period. This included a hearth area and several fragments of pottery, suggesting that it was inhabited about 2,000 years before the Iron Age hillfort was constructed. Flint microliths (small stone tools) have been found at Grinshill, to the North of Shrewsbury, indicating a human presence in the Neolithic period. Since there are no flint deposits in Shropshire, these people must have been trading with other areas of the country.


Stone Age people often buried their dead in stone chambers or tumuli and a few such prehistoric burial sites have been found around Shropshire.  Similarly, there are a number of standing stones and stone circles. As humans began to have a less nomadic way of life, people and goods started to move over great distances.   Lowland Shropshire was densely forested and so ridgeways took the easier and safer course over high ground.  The Portway was a major ridgeway over the Long Mynd that was used by Neolithic axe traders and was still recognised as the King’s Highway up until the Middle Ages. The area around Clun seems to have been most popular during the Neolithic period and archaeologists have discovered over 1,000 flint tools and weapons from that area.


The Neolithic inhabitants were very skilled at making stone tools.  A lot of people assume that such tools were all made of flint but many other types of rock were used, often hard igneous varieties.  They excelled at the difficult art of “knapping”, where a lump of rock was struck with another piece to break off a flake.  These often had sharp edges that could be used to cut with.  Such small tools are called microliths and examples include knives, scrapers (small ones were called thumb scapers) , adzes, picks, scythes and arrowheads


Another common tool found is the stone axe or hammer.  This can take various forms and would have been lashed onto a wooden handle, had a hole for the wood to be wedged into or had splits in the wooden handle to fit the axe head in. There were a number of stone axe “factories” around Britain where the local rock was usually igneous or metamorphic and thus particularly hard.  In many cases, it is possible to identify from the stone used exactly where it came from.  Thus UK axe factories are identified by a Group number as follows :-


Group I - Penzance

Group IV – Devon

Group VI –Langdale

Group VIlGraig Lwyd

Group IX – Antrim

Group XII – Cwm Mawr 

Group XV – Coniston

Group XVI - Cornwall

Group XX – Charnwood Forest

Group XXI - Mynydd Rhiw.


One of these, Cwm Mawr, is just over the Powys border at Hyssington.  It is likely that many local axes would have come from here but the axes were also traded all over the country.



Discovering Shropshire’s History


Life in the Stone Age


Online Museum of the Stone Age


Stone Age






Gazetteer of Sites


Acton Scott, Location Unknown [SO45508950]

1)     Perforated stone axe hammer

2)     Rough stone net sinker

3)     Polished perforated stone axe

4)     2 spurred scrapers.


All Stretton, Robin Hood's Butts [SO43319651]

Polished Neolithic stone axe-head.


All Stretton, Worsley Farm [SO45609620]

1)     Large stone hammer

2)     Small stone hammer.


Aston Botterell, Bold Farm [SO64508450]

Two flint arrowheads.


Atcham, Attingham Park [SJ55001050]

Stone axe - Group XV Coniston.


Baschurch, Eyton Farm [SJ43962329]

Grey Neolithic igneous stone axe.


Baschurch, Walford House [SJ43492096]

Neolithic polished dolerite stone axe - not Group VI, it differs from other known examples - could be Lake District or Wales.


Bayston Hill, Shomere Pool (SJ50640786

Wooden Mesolithic dugout canoes.


Bedstone, Pump House [SO37507570]

219 flint implements and waste flakes of Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age.


Bedstone, Windy Hall [SO33697746]

Polished grey flint axe.

Bishop’s Castle, Conery Field [SO33508730]

1)     Large flint scraper

2)     Leaf shaped arrowhead

3)     Kite shaped arrowhead

4)     Composite knife/awl/hollow scraper.


Bishop’s Castle, Conery Field [SO33628709]

Flint leaf arrowhead.


Bishop’s Castle, Lodge Farm [SO34269046]

Stone axe - Group VI Langdale.


Bishop’s Castle, Lodge Farm [SO34308970]

Perforated medium sized stone axe hammer - Group XV Coniston.


Bishop’s Castle, Oakeley Mynd [33608738]

Leaf-shaped flint barbed and tanged arrowhead.


Bishop’s Castle, Roveries Hillfort [SO32289271]

Hearth area and several fragments of pottery. This would suggest that the area was inhabited some 2,000 years before the Iron Age hillfort was constructed.


Bourton, Brockton [SO57329411]

Light grey mottled flint scraper.


Bridgnorth, Cann Hall [SO72189320]

Polished stone axe.


Bridgnorth, Danesford [SO72509150]

Small stone axe.


Bromfield, Oakley Park [SO49107650]

Half of a pale grey ground and polished axe - Group VII Craig Llwyd.


Bromfield, Roman Camp [SO48317762]

Two shallow circular pits of Neolithic date and four later pits containing pottery. Charred seeds in the pits probably indicate that the local Neolithic population grew wheat and barley; they also collected hazel-nuts.


Bucknell, Dog Kennel Lane [SO35507400]

1)     Neolithic arrowhead (broken) of dark grey flint

2)     Borer of black flint with a white chalk cortex.


Bucknell, Village Centre [SO35537391]

1)     Mesolithic flint arrowhead

2)     Flint awl

3)     Flint scraper


Buildwas, Abbey Arms Farm [SJ64580448]

Medium sized stone axe - Group I Penzance.


Cardeston, Hayes Farm [SJ35231536]

Polished stone axe of Neolithic date.


Cardeston, Hayes Farm [SJ35431554]

Igneous stone axe.


Childs Ercall, Aerodrome [SJ66502650]

Five flint arrowheads.


Chirbury, Stockton [SJ27460136]

Neolithic stone axe - Group VI Langdale.


Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley [SO44509450]

Conical butted triangular igneous stone axe.


Church Stretton, Unknown [SO45759355]

Pebble macehead.


Churchstoke, Brompton Hall [SO25109350]

Small stone axe - Group VI Langdale.


Churchstoke, Pentrehyling Farm [SO24559304]

Large number of decorated sherds of late Neolithic pottery.


Churchstoke, The Ditches [SO24929397]

Countersunk stone axe.


Clee St Margaret, Bockleton Court [SO58508350]

Barbed and tanged arrowhead.


Clee St Margaret, Bouldon [SO55008500]

Small stone axe - Group IX Antrim.


Clee St Margaret, Nordy Bank [SO57608470]

Part of flint leaf arrowhead and part of a flint blade.


Cleobury Mortimer, Catherton Farm [SO65607900]

Flint dagger.


Cleobury Mortimer, Catherton Farm [SO65987899]

Leaf shaped, chipped Neolithic flint arrowhead.


Cleobury Mortimer, Lacon Childe School [SO67427590]

Thumbnail scraper and an arrowhead of late Neolithic / Early Bronze Age.


Cleobury Mortimer, The Gurch [SO65807560]

Leaf shaped flint arrowhead.


Cleobury North, Abdon Burf Hillfort [SO59508660]

Stone axe - does not belong to a recognised rock group, nor is it from local outcrops.


Cleobury North, Brown Clee Hill [SO59508650]

Neolithic polished stone axe.


Cleobury North, Burwarton Hall [SO61518529]

Polished Neolithic dolerite stone axe.


Clun, Amblecote [SO19308480]

Partly polished Neolithic leaf shaped arrowhead.


Clun, Bury Ditches Hillfort [SO32508350]

Number of flint axe heads.


Clun, Caer Din Ring [SO24008516]

Compound for keeping livestock.


Clun, Cefn Vron [SO16898426]

Broken stone blade.


Clun, Clunton Old Farm [SO33508140]

Polished igneous stone axe.


Clun, Cwmffrydd [SO27368032]

Over 200 flint flakes and implements.


Clun, Cwmffrydd [SO27528024]

Neolithic flint flakes and implements.


Clun, Fos-y-Rhiew [SO21408120]

Small partly polished Neolithic leaf shaped arrowhead.


Clun, Holmeside [SO27678006]

Large, brown, heart shaped stone axe of Neolithic date.


Clun, Lower Rockhill [SO29327886]

A long barrow of probable Neolithic date. 


Clun, Oaks Field [SO28788199]

1)     Cremation in pit covered by stone slabs and cairn

2)     Part of a perforated axe-hammer - Group XX Charnwood Forest.


Clun, Sowdley Wood [SO32558076]

Neolithic flint axe.


Clun, Stepple Farm [SO32508250]

1)     Two leaf-shaped arrowheads

2)     Point of a laurel-leaf blade

3)     2 flakes from polished flint axes

4)     Plano convex knife.


Clun, Weston Hill [SO27618077]

Two leaf shaped arrowheads of Neolithic date.


Clun, Weals Old House [SO19508470]

1)     Large leaf-shaped arrowhead

2)     Bronze Age barbed and tanged arrowhead.


Clunbury, Aston Hall [SO39178179]

1)     Four shaped smooth stone wedges

2)     Three polished flint axes.


Clunbury, Backs Field [SO35508150]

Edge fragment of polished axe of grey-white flint reused as awl/hollow scraper.


Clunbury, Llandevy Farm [SO33507850]

Flint axe.


Clunbury, Matt’s Barn [SO36738197]

Neolithic lozenge shaped flint arrowhead.


Clunbury, Matt’s Barn [SO36738207]

1)     Long leaf shaped arrowhead with its point missing

2)     Side scraper.


Clunbury, New House [SO35508200]

Part of a polished axe.


Clungunford, Rowton Grange [SO40118012]

Large Neolithic axe.


Colebatch Farm, Bishop’s Castle [SO31608730]

Mesolithic sandstone hammer.


Cound, Green Farm [SJ55000500]

Butt of flint axe.


Cound, Lower Cound Brickfield [SJ55430591]

Polished stone axe of Neolithic date - Group VI Langdale.


Cound, Venusbank [SJ55500550]

Centre of large broken axe - Group VI Langdale. Small axe of igneous rock - Similar to but not identical with Group I.


Condover, Location Unknown [SJ49400480]

Neolithic flint axe.


Cressage, Garmstow [SJ60630611]

1)     Medium sized ground and polished axe of Neolithic date - Group VI  Langdale

2)     Pebble hammer.


Cressage, Hall Farm [SJ60940462]

Polished axe of white flint.


Cressage, Location Unknown [SJ59100390]

Creamy brown chipped flint hoe - Group IX Antrim.


Diddlebury, Corfton [SO49508450]

Conical butted polished stone axe - Group I Penzance.


Dorrington, Frodesley Rectory [SJ51550101]

Perforated stone axe.


Dorrington, Netley Hall [SJ47200170]

Four celts, three axes - Group VII Craig Llwyd.


Easthope, Big Meadow [SO56739509]

Mid-section fragment of polished Neolithic stone axe.


Gobowen, Pentrekendrick [SJ29703456]

Single, apparently pen-annular ditch with entrance to East. A probable enclosure of Prehistoric date, seen as a crop mark.


Gobowen, Whittington [SJ33043338]

Neolithic spindle whorl .


Great Ness, Nesscliffe [SJ38141915]

Well-defined, extremely regular semi-circular crop mark of 50m diameter. The enclosure ditch is very well-defined and unusually broad. The regularity of form and breadth of the ditch in this enclosure suggest a Neolithic or Early Bronze Age ceremonial enclosure, perhaps even a henge


Grinshill, Corbet Wood [SJ51902370]

1) 1 fragment of debitage from core preparation, 25mm x 16mm x 8mm. Grey flint with cortex at one end.
2) 1 waste flake from a prepared core, 17mm x 15mm x 5mm. Grey flint.
3) 1 waste flake 10mm x 8mm x 3mm. Grey flint.
4) 1 fragment of debitage 15mm x 10mm x 3mm. Burnt flint.
5) 1 flake from prepared core, blunted along long edge. 20mm x 13mm x 1mm. Brown flint.
6) 1 fragment of flake from prepared core. 10mm x 16mm 2mm. Light grey flint.
7) 1 fragment of flake, snapped. Cortex at top end. 12mm x 16mm x 1mm. Grey flint.
8). 1 small fragment, possibly a microlith, 15mm x 8mm x 2mm. Opaque grey flint.
9) 9 microliths from prepared blades. Size range between 20mm x 10mm x 2mm and 9mm x 8mm x 1mm.


Grinshill, Corbet Wood [SJ52012378]

Two Neolithic leaf shaped flint arrowheads.


Hadnall, Haston Farm [SJ51032085]

Ground and polished flint axe of Neolithic date.


Harley, Hughley Road [SJ59500150]

1)     Edge end of a straight sided adze/chisel - Group IX Antrim

2)     Fine grained, grey green axe.


Harley, Location Unknown [SJ59100090]

Polished stone axe - Group XX Charnwood Forest.


Harley, Rowley Farm [SJ59100030]

Chipped and polished flint axe.


Hemford, Hill Crest [SJ31660038]

Mesolithic sandstone hammer.


Highley, Butts Farm [SO75638257]

Polished stone axe - Group VI Langdale.


Hinstock, Broad View Farm [SJ67442852]

Flint blade.


Hinstock, Broad View Farm [SJ67532854]

Flint axe-head of Neolithic date.


Hinstock, Shakeford [SJ67502850]

Stone axe of Neolithic date - Group I Penzance.


Hodnet, Cotton Farm [SJ62302720]

Neolithic ground stone axe - Group VI Langdale.


Hope Bowdler, Hollies Farm [SO48909190]

Butt end of a Neolithic ground flint (or chert) axe.


Hopesay, Burrow Camp [SO38508350]

1)     Small grey leaf-shaped Neolithic arrowhead

2)     Four Neolithic flint scrapers.


Hopton Castle, Upper House [SO36807820]

Mesolithic sandstone hammer.


Hughley, Ashfield Farm [SO55509770]

1)     Polished axe

2)     Broken polished flint axe.


Hughley, Mapp Farm [SO55409930]

Large stone axe.


Hyssington, Cwm Mawr Axe Factory [SO30539511]

Although strictly over the border in Powys, it is so close to the border that it is included here.  It was the source of Group XII axes and axe hammers which have been found in Wales and the Marches. The axes are made from a rock called Picrite, which outcrops on a small hill just to the North-West of the village of Hyssington.


Knighton, Bryney [SO27527476]

Large stone scraper.


Knighton, Caer Caradoc Camp [SO31057580]

Three fragments from polished flint axes.


Knighton, Garn Farm [SO29137572]

Ground stone axe with conical butt.


Knighton, Garn Farm [SO29687510]

1)     A Mesolithic or Neolithic chipped flint pick

2)     Arrowhead.


Knighton, Lurkenhope [SO29887416]

Polished Neolithic axe in a pale grey flint with whitish cherty inclusions.


Knighton, Monaughty Poeth [SO25607480]

A small tumulus with chamber divided into 5 compartments, each containing human skeletons laid side by side. The entrance to the chamber was covered by a huge stone weighing several tons, of material foreign to the district.


Leebotwood, Betchcott Hills [SO42149823]

1) Small scraper
2) Small prismatic blade
3) Irregular pointed fragment from polished axe


Lilleshall, Brockton Leasows [SJ73131617]

Dolerite axe.


Llanyblodwel, Cefn-Aber-Tanat [SJ22472293]

Incomplete curvilinear enclosure and linear ditches possibly representing traces of a field system are visible as crop marks.


Llanyblodwel, Wern Cottage [SJ27502550]

Butt end of large stone axe - Group XXI Mynydd Rhiw.


Llanymynech, Llynclys Hill [SJ27262355]

Neolithic kite shaped arrowhead.


Llanymynech, Whitehaven Upper Quarry [SJ26532450]

Polished igneous stone axe - Group XXI Mynydd Rhiw.


Ludlow, Leys Meadow [SO51807480]

Greenstone axe.


Market Drayton, Dogkennel Lane [SJ67603360]

Leaf shaped arrowhead of grey flint.


Minsterley, Callow Hill [SJ38500480]

Mesolithic stone hammer.


Monkhopton, Woolshope Farm [SO62049292]

Flint axe.


Much Wenlock, Bourton Farm [SO59899541]

Neolithic axe.


Much Wenlock, Stretton Westwood [SO59249809]

Neolithic scraper of black flint.


Much Wenlock, Stretton Westwood [SO60109860]

Large, damaged axe - Group VII Craig Lwyd.


Munslow, Banky Westcroft Field [SO53758878]

Small igneous stone axe.


Myddle, Godden's Lane [SJ49702240]

Stone axe - Group IV Langdale.


Oswestry, Grammar School [SJ28452925]

Stone axe.


Oswestry, Old Oswestry Hillfort [SJ29603110]

1)     Small, stout Neolithic igneous stone axe

2)     Broken black stone axe.


Pattingham, Birchley Farm [SO80819828]

1)     Arrowhead

2)     End scraper

3)     Blades.


Pontesbury. Bank Farm [SJ38440369]

Neolithic polished stone axe.


Pontesbury, Pontesford Hill Camp [SJ40860557]

Early Neolithic scraper.


Prees, Village Centre [SJ55643330]

7 Neolithic flint arrowheads


Quatford, Morfe Farm [SO76569180]

Two leaf shaped arrowheads.


Quatford, Quatford Castle [SO73849073]

Leaf shaped flint arrowhead . Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age.


Rhydycroesau, Cefn-y-Maes [SJ23983222]

Flaked and partly polished Neolithic axe.


Rushbury, Eastwall [SO52509350]

Polished Neolithic stone adze of igneous rock.


Rushbury, Stanway Manor [SO52369092]

Four whitish flint arrowheads.


Shifnal, Manor Farm [SJ74250665]

Neolithic polished stone axe - Group IV Devon.


Shipton, 14 Acres Field [SO54849158]

Neolithic flint scraper.


Shipton, 14 Acres Field [SO54869168]

Neolithic flint scraper.


Shipton, Longville [SO53509350]

Stone cup, possibly Neolithic.


Shipton, New House Farm [SO55309190]

Medium chipped and polished Neolithic stone axe - Group VI Langdale.


Shorthill, Siberscott Manor [42610758]

1)     Arrowhead

2)     Pottery

3)     Blue glass.


Shrewsbury, Calcott [SJ45151385]

Axe of fine-grained, highly altered igneous rock.


Shrewsbury, Falstaff Street [SJ49561389]

Conical butted stone axe - Group I Penzance.


Shrewsbury, Gallows Croft [SJ49061126]

Pits and ditches containing a range of pre-Iron Age pottery.


Shrewsbury, Lloyds Bank [SJ49121256]

Clay bottle hand moulded and probably Neolithic.


Shrewsbury, Uffington [SJ52571317]

Flint thumbnail scraper.


Shrewsbury, Uffington [SJ52631290]

Flint thumbnail scraper.


Shrewsbury, Weeping Cross [SJ50301044]

Neolithic pottery.


Shrewsbury, Weeping Cross [SJ50721069]

Neolithic pit and linear ditches together with pottery and some undated linear features.


Sidbury, Lower House Farm [SO68708560]

Stone axe unearthed by John Parton when the stream was dug out to make a more effective ditch.  Many flints were also found spread over quite a large area called the flint field at SO68808600.


St Martin’s, Pen-y-bryn [SJ31553835]

Flint scraper.


Stanton Lacy, Manor Farm [SO50607860]

Flint axe of Neolithic date.


Stockton, Astol Farm [SJ7400050]

1)     Large chipped axe head of pale grey chert

2)     Flint knife.


Stockton, Brick Kiln Field [SO73899936]

1)     Flint axe-head

2)     Plano convex knife of Neolithic to Bronze Age.


Telford, Aqueduct [SJ69380608]

Flint blade of Neolithic or Bronze Age date.


Tong, Offoxey Farm [SJ81500850]

Shaped stone axe or adze head of Neolithic date.


Tong, Weston Park [SJ80180941]

Neolithic stone axe.


Tugford. Baucott Manor House Farm [SO54108750]

Neolithic stone axe found - Group VII Craig Llwyd.


Tugford, Earnstrey Park [SO58118849]

1)     Edge fragment of a Neolithic adze of light grey mottled rock

2)     Axe of dark grey rock - Group VII Graig Lwyd.


Upton Cressett, New House Farm [SO64909230]

Leaf shaped arrowhead in clear brownish flint.


Upton Cressett, New House Farm [SO64909240]

Unfinished flint arrowhead.


Wentnor, Black Knoll [SO39508850]

End of an archer's bracer with two holes.


Wentnor, The Portway [SO40069018]

Plano convex knife.


Wentnor, The Portway [SO40299023]

1)     Plano-convex knife

2)     Thumb-nail scraper.


Weston, Abbey Farm [SJ57103050]

Stone axe - Group VI Langdale.


Welsh Frankton, Evenhall Farm [SJ36403150]

Green, polished stone axe - Group VI Langdale.


Wem, Shrewsbury Road [SJ50762711]

Ddiscoidal flint knife.


West Felton, Navigation Inn [SJ31422505]

Neolithic polished stone axe.


Westbury, Netley Hoard [SJ35500950]

Neolithic stone axe.


Westoncommon, Petton Farm [SJ43702660]

Polished stone axe - Group VI Langdale.


Wistanstow, Moorwood [SO45418579]

Leaf shaped arrowhead.


Wistanstow, Strefford Hall [SO44448590]

Crop mark of a single interrupted circular ditch, with several pits to the North-East of the enclosed area. Possibly a Neolithic henge monument.


Wistanstow, Strefford Hall [SO44498605]

Crop mark of two short parallel pit alignments, each of five large pits, forming a large bow sided building.


Withington, Gorsy Leasow [SJ55901490]

Red-gold flint axe.


Withington, Sugden [SJ60341498]

Polished stone axe - Group VII Craig Lwyd.


Worfield, Rowley Coppice [SO76809710]

Neolithic flint axe.


Worthen, Brockton [SJ32250518]

1)     Possible enclosure of unknown date, seen as a crop mark.

2)    Potential hut circle of unknown Prehistoric date, seen as a crop mark.

3)    Potential pit of unknown date, seen as a crop mark.