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Langdale stone axe 'factory'
Pike of Stickle, Langdale, Cumbria
associated engineer
Anon
date  circa 3000BC
era  Pre-Roman  |  category  Monument, historical  |  reference  NY274072
This is the site of what might be called the first recognisable 'industry' in the British Isles. The scree slopes here were quarried some 5,000 years ago for the raw materials for stone axes, which were then shaped and eventually ended up distributed round the country.
The first settlers in the Lake District came to the area by sea. They moved inland along the rivers, and along the way discovered the area we call Langdale and its greenstone volcanic tuff. They made polished axe heads with it. From here, the axe heads were exported, presumably through trading. There is a track leading east along the ridge from the site that may well date from the 'factory' period.
A study of stone axe heads from all over England and Wales came up with the surprising discovery that 27% were made of Great Langdale tuff and therefore originated from this site. Most such axe heads were found in Lincolnshire and the East Midlands area but many were found much further afield — in Northern Ireland and even Poland.
A number of the axe heads from Langdale were found in wet places — marshes, streams, etc. and showed no sign of having been used. This may indicate that they had been placed in significant spots as some kind of religious offering.
A word of warning: this site is high up and on unstable slopes of loose rock, making it a dangerous place. Not one for a family outing. And please note that it is against the law to remove anything from this site.
Research: PD and AJD
bibliography
"Lakeland Roads" by P. Hindle, Dalesman Books, 1977
www.langdaleweb.co.uk/axe.html
Location

Langdale stone axe 'factory'