NMS-ECAA52: Palaeolithic handaxe

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Unique ID: NMS-ECAA52

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Palaeolithic handaxe. Ovate handaxe in mint condition but with a small thermal (frost) fracture at the butt end. Black flint with pale grey coarse grained inclusions, including a large one at the butt end, probably responsible for the v-shaped break. One face carries two small areas of fine grey pebble cortex. All flake removals are hard hammer struck. Dimensions 128 x 79 x 37mm.

N.B. This has become known as "The" Happisburgh handaxe. It was the first beach find to be recovered from a dateable context (circa 550,000 BC) in this area. Later excavations by AHOB found evidence of earlier activity, attributed to Homo Antecessor, that pushed back the earliest ancient occupation of Britain a further 350,000 years from the previously earliest site at Boxgrove (circa. 500,000 BC).

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: National importance

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Donated to a museum


Broad period: PALAEOLITHIC
Subperiod from: Early
Subperiod to: Early
Date from: Circa 600000 BC
Date to: Circa 500000 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 128 mm
Width: 79 mm
Thickness: 37 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Saturday 1st January 2000 - Friday 19th May 2000

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Identified by: Dr Peter Robins
Secondary identifier: Mr Jason Gibbons

Other reference numbers

SMR reference number: 35385

Materials and construction

Primary material: Flint
Manufacture method: Knapped/flaked
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Norfolk (County)
District: North Norfolk (District)
To be known as: Happisburgh

Spatial coordinates

Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Other chance find
General landuse: Coastland

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: NMS
Created: Thursday 12th July 2012
Updated: Thursday 18th January 2018

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