Rare Bronze Age artefacts unearthed by metal detector enthusiasts will help future generations piece together a picture of life in ancient Wharfedale.

The two bronze axe heads, essential tools for early farmers cutting down trees and cultivating the land, have been given to Ilkley’s Manor House Museum.

The finds were made in Addingham almost 20 years apart, the first by Geoff Lowcock, and the second by his friend David Harrison, a former Deputy Lord Mayor of Bradford.

The pair have signed over the axe heads, dating from between 2,200 and 1,800 BC, to the Bradford Council-run museum.

The new exhibits will join a display at the museum of flint tools, sword blades, pottery and other objects.

Mr Harrison said: “We’ve been detecting together for 40 years. It took him 20 years to get his axe head and it’s taken me 40 years to find mine.”

Mr Lowcock, 72, found his palstave axe head in 1990 while the Addingham bypass was being built, while Mr Harrison discovered his earlier-period flat axe head last year.

The friends have also discovered a variety of artefacts including a silver coin from the reign of Elizabeth I and a Roman brooch.

Museum officer Gavin Edwards said it was very unusual for bronze items to be found.

“We’re absolutely delighted. They’ll be part of the collection on display and they’ll be preserved for future generations,” he said.

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