A red deer antler mattock from Willington Quay, Wallsend

Christopher Smith, Clive Bonsall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In July 1934 Mr. Laverick, of Willington Quay, donated this mattock to the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle. It is said to have been found here, but its precise findspot is unknown. The implement is "made out of the basal portion of an unshed red deer antler", weighs c. 850 grammes, and is 290 mm long. It has an oval shafthole 30 x 25 mm between the stumps of the brow and bez tines, and its beam has been truncated obliquely to form a cutting edge. It appears to show two distinct wear patterns, "possibly related to different episodes of use", and is a fine example of an "antler-base mattock". Though antler-base mattocks had a broad time range, being in use from the Mesolithic to the Early Bronze Age, a radiocarbon date of 3880 +/- 80 Radiocarbon Years before Present for this example shows that it was clearly post-Mesolithic. It is also considered possible that it may have come in a load of ballast sand from the Thames.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-211
Number of pages9
JournalArchaeologia Aeliana
Publication statusPublished - 1985


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