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Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

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Tue 08 Jun 2010
John Trippier – Prehistoric Archaeology of the West Pennines

John Trippier – Prehistoric History of the West Pennines

John, a freelance archaeologist, introduced his illustrated talk by explaining that he was going to concentrate on the ‘lumps and bumps’ of the West Pennine moors.

Any object dated before 3,000 BC was described as being from a period of pre-history. And any object of that age or older and laid above ground was a pre-historic monument.

John gave us a broad view of time in north west England from the end of the ice age, Palaeolithic Age (10,000 BC), through to the Bronze Age (3,000 BC to 500 BC) and what each age represented.


John Trippier

His main interest though was in 3 local pre-historic sites, Pikestones, Round Loaf and Rushy Brow.

He explained that the Lancashire University Archaeology Unit excavated sites and carried out an extensive survey from Withnell to Smithills, Bolton. These were carried out in the mid 1980s and were published in the mid 1990s.

John acknowledged other sources that he had used included 2 books from a Chorley author, Gladys Sellers.

Acknowledgement was also given to excavations in the 1950s in this area by then members of this society.


Excavations at Noon Hill cairn by Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society c1960


An artists impression of what Noon Hill burial cairn may have looked like. The collared urn would have contained human remains.


One of John's finds.
A flint arrow head 15mm long


Particular attention was given to the description of a chambered long cairn such as the one at Pikestones.

Rushy Brow was a site excavated in the mid 1980s and explained of the many flints found there.

It was Round Loaf’s history though, which in John’s opinion, was going to be controversial. He invited suggestions from members as to what made it. Was it a monument or a natural feature? He provided an explanation that it could be a glacial feature based on its size, shape and location.

It was an interesting and thought provoking evening from John, which was rounded off by a good question and answer session.

P Robinson


From 1983 to 1985 the Anglezarke Uplands were surveyed by the Cumbria and Lancashire Archaeological Unit (which became Lancaster University Archaeological Unit). This is now Oxford Archaeology North - based in Lancaster. Their report was published in the Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 61, 1996, pp. 133-166
John referred to this report in his talk and it makes fascinating reading. To save you having to track a copy down there is a pdf (2.9Mg) of it available by clicking here.
BH.