The hand-sized artefact, which could date back to 2,500 BC, was found by a participant in a geological weekend course which was being run by the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Continuing Education.
It consists of a hand-sized slab of weathered sandstone with two pairs of concentric circles etched into the surface – a motif which, according to archaeologists, is typical of “Grooved Ware” art from the later Neolithic era.
While examples of similar Grooved Ware art have been discovered at sites elsewhere in the UK, this is the first time that any such find has been encountered in Eastern England, which may provide more information about the connections of the communities who inhabited the area 4,500 years ago.
The motives of whoever created the design are unclear. Researchers say that it could represent the ornamental efforts of a Prehistoric Picasso, but may just as easily have been an aimless inscription.
“It really is a fantastic find; certainly we have had nothing like it from any of our sites before,” Dr. Chris Evans, Director of the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, which operates out of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge, said.