- Archaeologists have discovered giant hand axes from the Ice Age in England, the purpose of which mystifies scientists due to their large size.
- The hand axes were found alongside 800 artifacts at an excavation site in the Medway Valley, thought to date back to the Middle Pleistocene age.
- The site offers researchers an exciting opportunity to answer questions about early human behaviors, despite current uncertainty about why such large tools were being made or which species of early human were creating them.
In a recent discovery that has archaeologists scratching their heads, giant hand axes dating back to the Ice Age have been unearthed in England.
These artifacts, estimated to be 300,000 years old, have left scientists fascinated and puzzled due to their sheer size and uncertain usage.
These ancient tools were discovered by researchers from University College London in the Medway Valley in southeastern England.
The excavation site at Manor Farm, which commenced in 2021, yielded these axes along with other artifacts among the Ice Age sediments of an ancient river channel.
All told, 800 artifacts were found buried on a hillside in Frindsbury, Kent, presumably from the Middle Pleistocene age.
Letty Ingrey, senior archaeologist at the University College London Institute of Archeology, described the axes as “giants,” measuring over 22cm long with very thick bases.
Crafted from flint stone, one of the hand axes found holds the title of the “longest ever found in Britain.”
These behemoth tools challenge our understanding of prehistoric humans, as Ingrey explains: “These hand axes are so big it’s difficult to imagine how they could have been easily held and used… Perhaps they fulfilled a less practical or more symbolic function than other tools, a clear demonstration of strength and skill.”
While hand axes are typically seen as rudimentary cutting tools, ideal for butchering animals or chopping up meat, the enormous size of these tools poses questions about their exact purpose.
As Ingrey admits, “We’re just not sure if the size of this one meant it had another function or was used in a different way.”
Dating the artifacts to an interglacial period between 330,000 and 300,000 years ago, Ingrey suggests that they could have been crafted by early Neanderthal people, or possibly another archaic human species.
However, the lack of human fossils at the site prevents any definitive conclusions.
Despite the mysteries surrounding these giant tools, their discovery offers an intriguing opportunity to further delve into prehistoric human behaviors and their evolution over the millennia.