The Westmorland Gazette reports 3 December that –
CARLISLE’S Tullie House museum has been donated two very rare Neolithic wooden tridents by Cumbria County Council and is putting them on display for the public to give their theories on what they were used for. The two tridents were discovered during the archaeological excavations prior to the construction of the Carlisle Northern Development Route (CNDR), and add to the mystery surrounding identical finds in Cumbria and Northern Ireland around 200 years ago. Only four other similar tridents exist in the UK and the fact that they have almost identical designs and show a proficiency in woodworking suggests they were made for an accepted purpose. But experts are unsure what that was, with theories including fishing, hunting or agricultural use.
They both measure over two metres in length and each has been expertly crafted, using stone tools, from a single plank of oak, split from a mature tree (c 300 year old). They would have been heavy, hefty objects, seemingly built for their strength. As they have been submerged and preserved in water-logged ground for nearly 6,000 years, their preservation involved freeze drying and stabilising them by injecting them with a waxy substance to replace the water in the trident’s structure as just letting the wood dry would have damaged them.
Full article here. Photos of the tridents here.