Flint hand-axes found off Great Yarmouth
A haul of 28 flint hand-axes, dated by archaeologists to be around 100,000 years-old, have been unearthed in gravel from a licensed marine aggregate dredging area 13km off Great Yarmouth.
The find was made by a Dutch amateur archaeologist, Jan Meulmeester, who regularly searches for mammoth bones and fossils in marine sand and gravel delivered by British construction materials supplier Hanson to a Dutch wharf at Vlissingen.
The axes show that deep in the Ice Age, mammoth hunters roamed across land that is now submerged beneath the sea. These are the finest hand-axes that experts are certain come from English waters, although there have been several finds on beaches, for example at Pakefield in Suffolk.
Phil Harding of Wessex Archaeology and Channel 4’s Time Team programme said: “These finds are massively important. In the Ice Age the cold conditions meant that water was locked up in the ice caps. The sea level was lower then, so in some places what is now the seabed was dry land. The hand-axes would have been used by hunters in butchering the carcasses of animals like mammoths. Although we don’t yet know their precise date, we can say that these hand-axes are the single most important find of Ice Age material from below the North Sea.””