Record Details

NHER Number:6600
Type of record:Find Spot
Name:Unprovenanced Palaeolithic flint handaxes and possibly other implements (Gresham, poorly located)


A significant number of Palaeolithic worked flints were recovered in Gresham during the late 19th century and early 20th century. The material now held by the Norwich Castle Museum includes a small number of objects (including four handaxes) for which an exact provenance in the parish is not known.

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Full description

Various Palaeolithic objects known to have been found in Gresham between the late 19th century and the early 20th century, but with little additional information regarding provenance.


The Norwich Castle Museum holds a range of Palaeolithic worked flints from Gresham. Those listed in (S1) include a number that are of uncertain provenance:
2 handaxes, 1 unfinished/roughout handaxe and 1 retouched flake/flake implement from "Gresham".
2 handaxes from "Sadlers Hills".
These are almost certainly objects collected by J. Cox (the headmaster of Gresham School) and now part of the NCM's Cox-Barclay Collection (NWHCM : 1935.57). The unprovenanced objects include a "tongue-shaped Acheulian handaxe" noted by (S2). This is probably the unprovenanced broken, slightly rolled ficron handaxe described by J. J. Wymer on (S3) and in (S4). These objects are also noted in (S5) and (S6).

The origin of the handaxes recorded as being from "Sadlers Hills" is far from clear, particularly as no cartographic sources record such an area in the parish. The early NCM records appear to have made the assumption from these were additional finds from the pit near the East Beckham Road (NHER 6603). When Wymer examined this collection he could not locate these implements, listing them separately in (S4) from the objects from known pits. However, in subsequent sources, such as (S5) and (S6), "Sadlers Hills" is listed as being most likely the same site as Stonepit Hill (NHER 6563).


According to a note on (S2) worked flints from Gresham, including "Palaeos" were part of the A. C. Savin Collection in 1934. It is suggested that these might be amongst material subsequently acquired by the Spalding Museum.
Previously recorded as NHER 6599.


Various early volumes of the Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia document the finds that Cox exhibited at their meetings and he also described a range of his finds in a short article published in 1920 (S7). In most cases it has been possible to suggest a probable provenance in the parish for these objects. One exception is an "implement of black" flint that Cox exhibited at a meeting of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia on 9 December 1919. This was described as having been found "…at a very low altitude at a spot where the glacial sand slopes and to the low-lying clay to the S. of Gresham" (S8). Wymer's records (S3) and a number of subsequent sources suggest that this may be a side-scraper that has been identified in the NCM's collections which is recorded as having been found "near the Chequers" (S1). See NHER 6612. It should be noted that in (S4) Wymer listed these two objects separately, which may be an error.
The object exhibited by Cox was previously recorded separately as NHER 32893.

Cox's finds are also noted in (S9) ansd (S10).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 21 June 2014.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 1000000 BC to 40001 BC)

Associated Finds

  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT? (Lower Palaeolithic to Upper Palaeolithic - 500000 BC? to 10001 BC?)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE? (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S1>Monograph: Roe, D. A. 1968. A Gazetteer of British Lower and Middle Palaeolithic Sites. CBA Research Report. No 8. p 232.
<S2>Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Palaeolithic.
<S3>Record Card: Wymer, J. J. Wymer Index Card - Palaeolithic. Gresham.
<S4>Publication: Wymer, J. J. 1985. Palaeolithic Sites of East Anglia. p 31.
<S5>Unpublished Contractor Report: 1997. The English Rivers Palaeolithic Project. Regions 8 (East Anglian Rivers) and 11 (Trent Drainage). Wessex Archaeology. CR-2, No.4.
<S6>Website: TERPS online database. Site 22458.
<S7>Article in Serial: Cox, J. 1920. Implements from the Glacial Deposits of North Norfolk. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia. Vol III Pt II (for 1919-20) pp 200-205.
<S8>Article in Serial: 1920. Summary of Proceedings. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia. Vol III Pt II (for 1919-20) pp 315-322. p 317.
<S9>Map: Clarke, W.G.. Mss 126.
<S10>Article in Monograph: Sainty, J. E. 1935. Norfolk Prehistory. Report of the Annual Meeting, 1935. Norwich, September 4-11. British Association for the Advancement of Science. Appendix pp 60-71. pp 63-64.

Related records - none

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