STONE ARTEFACTS FROM BRONZE AGE CONTEXTS LITTLEDEAN WATER SHRINE
These stone artefacts were excavated from below the Iron Age Metal Working Layers. This does not mean they are not Iron Age in date. However they have all come from contexts which were not contaminated by iron slag and iron metal working residues. Several crude stone heads were recovered in association with some of these objects and at the present time it can only be suggested they may date from the late Bronze Age to the middle Iron Age. A few incised stone artefacts, have a similarity to Bronze Age objects from Anatolia and Iberia. All these artefacts await academic appraisal and identification. Some suggestive parallels are given here. The circular orbs and rayed circles are probably all sun imagery.
This incised sandstone artefact with ground surface has some similarity to ‘owl’ idols from Anatolia and Iberia. It was found in association with stone head No.30 in the upper fill of Bronze Age water channel.
This broken fragment of coloured sandstone has an inscribed image which may represent an owl face with eyes and beak. It came from a similar context to BA.1
This smoothed sandstone fragment with orb and rays is probably a depiction of the sun and may be an early representation of images which evolved to become wheel symbols of the sun which became popular in the Celtic Iron Age. It may have been a ‘die’ for gold working in the Bronze Age where very fine gold foil was created by hammering out an ingot and impressing into the die, creating a small gold solar disc (Cahill, M. A Stone to Die For – Irish Bronze Age gold work)
This interesting artefact was identified by local historian and archaeologist Gordon McDonald from the Blakeney Local History Society as an early sundial with parallels in Egypt. Placed on the ground with a stick in the hole produces a 3 hour period of time as the sun shadow passes from one side to the other. He suggests it may therefore represent a work period. The rays support the connection with the sun.
This is probably a fragment of another sun orb similar to BA.11 and has traces of rays.