Skip main navigation

The oldest known complete digging stick in the world?

We found a number of pieces of digging sticks at Star Carr and one complete one. In this film Mike Bamforth shows you what it looks like.

Another exciting discovery was a complete digging stick which again we believe is the oldest known example in the world.

As well as the one that Mike Bamforth shows you in this video, we also found a number of other pieces of digging sticks. As Mike explains, these are not just sticks but they have been carefully carved out of sections of wood.

What was interesting here is that they appear to have been made out of different types of wood – willow, alder, and alder buckthorn, though willow is the most common. Willow is a flexible wood when fresh and this would have been a useful property for a tool like a digging stick but this flexibility would soon be lost, making it easier to break the stick.

Further resources

If you would like to find out more about these artefacts and other wooden artefacts found at Star Carr they have been written up in Chapter 29 of our free, online books.

You can also watch another film on site of Mike examining what appears to be part of a wooden platter which is also written up in Chapter 29.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

This article is from the free online

Exploring Stone Age Archaeology: The Mysteries of Star Carr

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now