BH-9B5F56: Mesolithic pickaxe

Rights Holder: St. Albans District Council
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Unique ID: BH-9B5F56

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

A complete flint pickaxe, probably dating from the Mesolithic period (c. 10,000 BC to c. 4,001 BC).

This would appear to be a double-ended implement, with a pick at one end and an axe-like blade at the other. Most of the surface of the original nodule has been removed, but one side in particular retains a significant portion of its cortex. The narrowest point is at the pick end, where the surfaces have been deliberately sloped to point, which exhibits signs of wear. The sides gradually diverge from this point, the implement reaching a maximum width approximately one third of the way from the opposite end. This front third represents the axe-like cutting end and has slightly convex sides which converge to a blunt point. The thickness at this cutting end also gradually declines towards the edges, creating a wedge-shaped blade. The back two thirds of the tool have been less carefully finished than the front third; however, it is nevertheless possible to establish the likely top and bottom ends of the tool and to suggest that it may have been hafted. The top has been abruptly retouched all the way along, forming a flat surface; this is in contrast to the lower half, where the surfaces slope towards a narrow edge. On this lower edge there is what appears to be a deliberately created concavity, located adjacent to the start of the axe portion. It is likely that this feature was designed to aid hafting, as it forms a shoulder and tang which would have helped to prevent the tool head slipping from its shaft. The mottled orangey-brown surface of the object is indicative of the surface having absorbed iron and is a typical feature of flints that have been contained within river gravels.

Length: 173.9mm; maximum width: 65.2mm; maximum thickness: 35.8mm; weight: 436.5g.

The use of picks and adzes is discussed by Butler (2005: 103 - 104), with similar objects illustrated. A similar artefact on the PAS database is SUSS-9AC8D4 (Eastbourne, East Sussex), which is described as a 'Thames pick' and dated to the Early Mesolithic period.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: County / local importance

Class: Flint pickaxe

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MESOLITHIC
Period from: MESOLITHIC
Date from: Circa 10000 BC
Date to: Circa 4001 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 173.9 mm
Width: 65.2 mm
Thickness: 35.8 mm
Weight: 436.5 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Monday 1st April 2013

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Julian Watters
Identified by: Mr Julian Watters
Secondary identifier: Dr Kevin Leahy

Other reference numbers

Other reference: Ver 13/116

Materials and construction

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

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Hertfordshire (County)
District: East Hertfordshire (District)
Parish or ward: Brickendon Liberty (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TL3208
Four figure Latitude: 51.75514375
Four figure longitude: -0.08900975
1:25K map: TL3208
1:10K map: TL30NW
Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Other chance find
General landuse: Other
Specific landuse: Garden

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: BH
Created: 5 years ago
Updated: 5 years ago

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