The Chalk Group encompasses the entire Chalk succession in England and it forms bedrock on both the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Wolds. It is referable to the Upper Cretaceous except for the thin basal 'Red Chalk', which is Lower Cretaceous.
All the perforations have artificial striations along their lengths, which suggest that longitudinal 'gouging' was used in preference to rotary drilling (with the dangers of pressure fractures inherent in the latter), at least for widening a perforation in chalk. These weights are rather crude and probably too heavy to have functioned as loom weights; it is suggested that they may have been used as thatch weights.
The nondescript sandstone lithology of the hones summarised above occurs sparingly in the Upper Carboniferous Millstone Grit of the Pennines, abundantly in the Upper Carboniferous Coal Measures of the Yorkshire-Derbyshire Coalfield, and abundantly also in the Middle Jurassic succession of north-eastern Yorkshire. The presence of similar hones at Wharram Percy, however, enhances the probability of Middle Jurassic provenance.
Lithologically similar schist occurs in the Scottish highlands, but there is archaeological and radiometric-dating evidence (on the age of metamorphism) that the source of this type of schist hone is the Eidsborg area of Norway.
Hones are common finds from the Middle and Late Saxon periods in England. At Fishergate, York, sandstone hones were used exclusively during the Anglian period, whilst imported schist hones were introduced in the tenth century (Rogers 1993, 1315). The introduction of these Norwegian stones into England has been linked to the Scandinavian invasion and settlement (Ellis 1969, 49). Ellis and Moore (1990, 869) suggest that the contemporaneous use of hones of both imported and local stones may reflect differing functions, the schist hones being used for delicate blades and craftsmen's tools, and the chunkier coarse-grained hones on agricultural, and other large-edged, tools. No.23 was clearly a personal item and the perforation indicates that it was meant to be carried.
Nos. 35 and 36 are items of unknown function. Although their lithology is comparable to No.23, the pendant hone, they are much narrower and it is difficult to see how they might have been used as sharpening implements. The attribution ‘slate' pencil describes their appearance rather than function.