Type:  Acheulean Handaxe

Location: Iver, Buckinghamshire, England



MoST ID: 6336

Pedestal Link: https://une.pedestal3d.com/r/1W96kvPhM4

Model Author:  Christie McGunigle

This flint Acheulean handaxe was collected from Iver, Buckinghamshire, England.  It likely dates to ca. 300,000-500,000 BP.

The artefact is curated by the Australian Institute of Archaeology, catalogue no. IA24.156.

Since the 1870s, large numbers of stone tools, including handaxes, were collected from high Pleistocene gravel terraces along the Thames River valley at Taplow, Burnham, and Iver (near the modern Heathrow Airport).  In the 1920s and 30s, the antiquarian Armand D. Lecaille frequently revisited the commercial gravel quarry at Iver, and collected a large number of tools.  He published a paper on those tools with the archaeologist Kenneth Oakley in 1936.  This handaxe may be one of the tools collected by Lecaille.  The handaxe was made on a nodule of high-quality flint.  One face was flattened by invasive percussion flaking, and this provided a platform for less-invasive flaking on the opposite face.  The proximal end of the handaxe was not flaked, and is marked by an irregular rounded cortical surface.  The handaxe is worn by tumbling in river gravels.  The edges are heavily damaged by microflaking and the arrises between flake scars are rounded by abrasion.

By ca. 600,000-700,000, hominins began expanding out of the Iberian peninsula and crossed the Pyrenees Mountains into the region of modern France.  Famous handaxe sites in France include the type site for the Acheulean, St Acheul, in gravel deposits on the Somme River; Terra Amata, in Nice on the French Riviera; and La Noira, on a tributary of the lower Loire River.  By 500,000 BP, Acheulean hominins were living what is now southern Britain (the English Channel did not exist at this time), most notably at Boxgrove in West Sussex, which preserves the best-preserved Late Acheulean handaxe-making localities so far discovered.  Acheulean handaxe are found widely across the southern UK, including the famous finds at Hoxne, and a large modern sculpture of a handaxe commemorates the artefacts found in the Barnfield Pit near Swanscombe.