Sir John Evans Centenary Project - image background is marbled paper from one of John Evans's books John Evans Numismatic Society Medal 1899

Sir John Evans's Collections of Artefacts


Palaeolithic Handaxe from St Acheul

Country of Origin: France

Description: Flint handaxe


Object Period: Lower Palaeolithic (c. 350,000-400,000 years ago)

Provenance: Quarry near St Acheul, Amiens (Somme), France

Museum Accession No.: AN1928.221g

Aquisition History: Sir John Evans found this handaxe in situ 10 feet 10 inches below the surface at the St Acheul quarry. Presented to the Ashmolean by Sir Arthur Evans in 1927.

Other Information: Handaxes are symmetrical bifacial (worked on both faces) stone tools used throughout much of Europe, Africa and Asia during the Lower Palaeolithic. They are presumed to be multi-purpose tools, used for a variety of tasks including butchery and woodworking. They are often referred to as of `Acheulian' type, after the site where they were first recognised as being manufactured items found with the bones of extinct animals. This discovery was investigated by Sir John Evans and in 1859 formed the basis of his assertion of an extended antiquity for humans beyond the accepted biblical chronology.