“On a winter’s afternoon, almost twelve thousand years ago, a party of hunters was stalking a bull elk. He was a magnificent specimen, some five or six years old, and in the prime of life…”
So starts the story of the High Furlong Elk (also known as the Carleton or Poulton Elk), as written by the archaeologist who was most closely involved in its discovery in 1970 and subsequent publication, BJN Edwards—known as Ben—who always affectionately referred to the elk as “Horace”.
Today, the elk’s enormous complete skeleton is one of the most popular exhibits in the Harris Museum, Preston—accompanied by the bone spear heads that wounded it, and led to its death. Much studied by archaeologists and other scientists over the last forty years, it remains one of the most important discoveries from the Prehistoric Period, from a time soon after the last Ice Age, when small groups of hunters were rediscovering a Britain which was still joined to the rest of Europe by the great plains of Dogger Land.
Ben’s booklet (24 pages) is in two halves—first, a dramatic reconstructed account, with illustrations, of the events surrounding the hunt and death of the elk—and second, an account of its discovery and investigation. To this, the Lancashire Archaeological Society (LAS) has recently added a new ’top and tail’, bringing the story up to date, and discussing latest thinking about the find. This book is now being offered free of charge to any school that would like a copy of it (one copy per school).
The Key Stage 2 History curriculum says that “Pupils should be taught about changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age” – and suggests that pupils could be taught about Skara Brae or Stonehenge—but we have the Poulton Elk here on our doorstep! Studying the story of Horace could equally fit into the Local History aims of Key Stage 3.
To get your free copy, email Judith Hothersall on firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com, or phone her on 01772 749974
If anyone else would like a copy, come along to one of our meetings and pick one up for £2 – or see ‘Publications for sale’ on this website