The writer has, in a number of papers (see e.g. Cherry and Cherry 2002; 2007), highlighted a distinct contrast in raw materials used for toolmaking from the Late Mesolithic onwards between the south-west Cumbrian coastal plain on the one hand, and the limestone uplands of eastern Cumbria on the other hand. An overview of the evidence is set out below for ease of reference.
The object of this article is to highlight a number of more specific issues concerning the use of raw materials of different types and origins, and to allow the reader to observe the contrasts in colour that can be observed between flints of presumed different origins, in order to put in context some of the observations that have been made.
No scientific method for distinguishing reliably between flints from different sources has yet been developed. The identification of flint sources in this article is therefore extremely tentative, and relies heavily on colour, size and cortex. In the case of any single artefact, these factors are perhaps a dangerous and subjective guide. Having said that, a consistent approach has been taken by the writer to a sample of almost 80,000 artefacts. The size of this sample should allow some preliminary conclusions to be drawn.
The photographs that follow are digital conversions of 35mm colour slides taken over a period of several decades by the writer's father. The conversions are of variable quality, but are essentially accurate regarding the colour of the artefacts shown.
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Last updated: Wed May 27 2009