Finds Through The Ages

The Palaeolithic Period

Today I was thinking about searching for the oldest find found in Berkshire via the PAS database! This then lead me to ponder on the idea of writing a weekly blog where I could demonstrate this by writing about the oldest finds from different periods. So lets see how this goes! I shall start with the Palaeolithic period.

Much to my surprise two of the oldest finds from this period were recorded by myself! A lower Palaeolithic lithic flake, and a lower Palaeolithic lithic ficron handaxe fragment. Both date to 800, 000 – 250,000 BC, and were identified by lithic specialist Alison Roberts. These two were found in West Berkshire.

Copyright: The Portable Antiquities Scheme, License: CC-BY 2.0
Copyright: The Portable Antiquities Scheme, License: CC-BY 2.0

And on the other side of Berkshire in Reading we have this lovely lower Palaeolithic handaxe (tip missing) dating to 500,000 – 250, 000 BC, identified and recorded by the late and greatly missed David Williams!

Copyright: The Portable Antiquities Scheme, License: CC-BY 2.0

Hand axes were created through a flint-knapping process and were worked on both sides (bifacial). They were shaped to be used as multi purpose tools, and are probably the longest used tool in human history! The ficron handaxe above would have been shaped with curved sides and a pointed tip but unfortunately the tip is incomplete. The word ‘ficron’ comes from the French word meaning tip of a punt-pole. The tool was named after the French archaeologist Francois Bordes.


[click on images to go direct to PAS record]


The Trustees of the British Museum, 1968. Flint Implements.