happisburgh handaxe, norfolk museums service as part of culture365

HAPPISBURGH HANDAXE

Some objects are so important they change our knowledge of human history; one such item is this Lower Palaeolithic handaxe found at Happisburgh in Norfolk by Mike Chambers while walking his dog in 2000. Affectionately known as the Happisburgh Handaxe, it was found in situ in a deposit of silt with only a few millimetres of it showing from the surface, the deposit was dated and shown to be from around 550,000 to 700,000 years old, which pushed back the evidence for human colonisation this far north by at least 100,000 years.

Analysis of pollen in the silt allows us to build a picture of temperate woodland with pine, alder, oak, elm and hornbeam in evidence at the time the handaxe was made.

We explored another significant Happisburgh find in a previous Culture365 post. During 2013 the Happisburgh Footprints were found on a beach dating to around 800,000 years ago, making them the oldest human footprints ever discovered outside of Africa.

Explore a plethora of ancient artefacts at Norwich Castle.

Immerse yourself in the collections, and spend a weekend in the city. Visit Norwich is the perfect place to plan your trip.

Photo: Norfolk Museums Service