The Prehistory collection begins in the Middle Stone Age (Mesolithic), about 8,000 to 4,000 BC. It includes much material collected from the west coast of north Cumbria including such sites as Drigg and Eskmeals. Material representing the New Stone Age (Neolithic), about 4,000 to 2,500 BC, includes a large number of polished stone axes, many from the Langdale area of Cumbria, as well as flint arrowheads and knives. The collection also includes a small amount of Neolithic pottery, and several examples of rock art, the most important being the cup-and-ring marked Edenhall Stone, although this may date to the Bronze Age.

 
A selection of polished axes, flint tools and rock art can be seen in the Border Galleries.

Stone Axes

Roughouts and polished stone axes are the largest part of the Prehistoric collection. The most important part of this is material relating to the stone axe ‘factory’ that used the Central Lake District deposits of volcanic tuff found in the Langdales. In the later Stone Age, hard stones were made...