Tyne and Wear HER(851): Whitburn, antler harpoon-head - Details
S Tyneside and Sunderland
Whitburn, antler harpoon-head
Agriculture and Subsistence
In 1852 this object was "picked up on the shore at Whitburn", and later donated to the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle by the Rev. W. Featherstonhaugh. The precise findspot is unknown. Mellars suggests it was either washed up by the sea from submerged deposits just off the present shore, or eroded out of deposits in nearby cliffs; he favoured the former. The harpoon is of deer antler, "of biserial form, having three sharply pointed barbs along one edge, two similar barbs on the other edge, and bearing an elongated, oval perforation in the butt end; clear traces of a third barb can be seen close to the tip...". In total length it is 87.5 mm, with a max. width 14.6 mm, and max. thickness 4.6 mm. It is said to be "of Obanian affinities", and to date from 5,500 - 3,500 B.C.
<< HER 851 >> W.H.D. Longstaffe, 1858, Durham before the Conquest, Proceedings of the Archaeological Institute Newcastle, I, p. 50 H. Preston, 1933, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, 4, VI (for 193 -3 ), P.A. Mellars, 1970, An Antler Harpoon-Head of 'Obanian' Affinities from Whitburn,... Archaeologia Aeliana, 4, XLVIIII, 337-46 J. Wymer, ed. 1977, Gazetteer of Mesolithic Sites in England and Wales, Council British Archaeology, Research Report, No. 20, p. 78 R. Miket, 1984, The Prehistory of Tyne and Wear, pp. 94 and 97, fig. 30 no. 2 R. Young, 1987, Lithics and Subsistence in North-Eastern England, British Archaeological Report, British Series, p. 196 F 68, fig. IV.55; English Heritage Intertidal and Coastal Peat Database, Record ID 605; D.J. Smith, 1974, Museum of Antiquities, Newcastle upon Tyne - An Illustrated Introduction, 1