Hand Axe (France), 300,000 years old
This is a Hand axe.
This teardrop-shaped stone tool is from the celebrated Paleolithic site of Saint-Acheul, in northern France, which gave its name to the Acheulean technology. Though stone tools date back at least 2.6 million years, this tool is around 300,000 years old and was collected between 1883 and 1890. The handaxes discovered at Saint-Acheul in the 1850s were among the first Stone Age implements to be found. They demonstrated the existence of early humans and illustrated their tool-making techniques. While handaxes varied in size, symmetry, and the type of stone employed, the basic shape remained consistent over the Acheulean’s long time span. The handaxe here is made of flint, a material found throughout the Somme Valley, in northern France. It was made by striking flakes from a stone core with a rounded hammerstone, a process called "flint knapping." Over time, groups of early humans from different regions of the world began to produce more distinctly styled handaxes and other stone tools.
It is credited
Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, A146025.
Our curators have highlighted 3 objects that are related to this one.
Its dimensions are
H x W: 11 x 7 x 4.7 cm (4 5/16 x 2 3/4 x 1 7/8 in.)
Learn how to discriminate between ancient stone tools and regular rocks with Paleoanthropologist John Shea.
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.