This curious object is a Celtic head. It is carved from stone and probably dates to between the British Iron age and Roman Britain, around 500BC and 500AD. It was found in Wentcliff Beck near Earby at the beginning of the 20th century. The fact that this object was found in a stream may suggest that it was made as an offering to the Celtic gods.
'Celt' is a general name given to the inhabitants of much of mainland Europe and Britain by 300BC. It is generally accepted that these peoples shared cultural similarities and spoke related languages. It must be noted that there is still much controversy into how closely these people where related and whether it is appropriate to label this broad group of people as 'Celts'.
The Celts themselves were not an empire like the Romans but a collection of local tribes with varying sizes. The tribe that is known to have lived in the Yorkshire area are called the Brigantes, who originally allied with the Romans during the conquest.
Just like other religions at this the time the Celtic religion was focused on a wide range of gods and spirits. Several of these gods were venerated across the whole Celtic world, like Cernunnos (the sky-god) and Epona (the horse-goddess), whilst many other gods were only worshiped by local tribes.
Another common feature of Celtic religion was the importance of nature, water and streams, which were seen as mystical thresholds to the otherworld. As such many artefacts from the Celts are found in streams and lakes, leading us to believe that they were used for offerings to the gods.
This ties in with the discovery of this Celtic head, but importantly the head was also seen as a religious symbol for the Celts. The Brigantes in particular are noted for their veneration of human heads, with stone heads being found throughout Yorkshire.