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Handaxe

Palaeolithic handaxesA large tool, normally oval or pear-shaped and from 8-25cm in length. They date to the Lower Palaeolithic, 500,000 to 40,000 BP. In spite of the name it was not an axe at all, and probably served as an all-purpose tool. They were made by knocking flakes from both faces of a flint core and so are known as bifacially flaked handaxes. They are often found in gravel quarries, such as Stubbs Pit in Iver, as rivers have deposited gravel over the remains of the ancient land surface. They are also sometimes found in rivers which have eroded gravel terraces. Many have been found in the Thames.