Record Details

NHER Number:6777
Type of record:Find Spot
Name:Palaeolithic handaxe from the beach


The Norwich Museum holds a Palaeolithic flint handaxe that was found on or near the beach at Sidestrand. The is probably the same handaxe as one which was originally reported in 1927 (previously recorded as NHER 6774).

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 2616 4035
Map Sheet:TG24SE

Full description

Pre 1927. Stray Find.
The Norwich Castle Museum holds a flint handaxe from Sidestrand beach (NWHCM : 1963.17) that had originally been donated to the Ipswich Museum by A. C. Savin. Information from (S1). This is almost certainly one of the three handaxes from Sidestrand listed in (S2). It is also listed in (S3). Originally recorded as having been found in 1942, although this appears to have been a misreading of a note on (S1) that is probably actually the original Ipswich Museum accession number.

It is highly likely that this is the same handaxe as one which had been described and figured by J. Reid Moir in 1927 (S4) and previously recorded as NHER 6774. Reid Moir reported that this implement had originally been found "…on the surface of a field upon the top of the cliffs at Sidestrand…" by W. G. Sandford. It had been acquired by A. C. Savin after Sandford's death, at a sale of his effects. The object itself is described as a Lower Palaeolithic implement "..which exhibits only one small area of cortex at the butt-end, is unrolled, [with] its flaked surfaces [carrying] neither incipient cones of percussion, nor striae, and are not patinated" (S4). This object was also noted in (S5). According to (S1) this object was still in Savin's collection in 1934.

This handaxe was subsequently described by Wymer (S6) as a typical pointed handaxe in slightly rolled condition. Although it is possible that Wymer based his description on Reid Moir's illustration he nevertheless records it as being in the Norwich Castle Museum, which would appear to confirm that it is indeed the object held by this museum. This handaxe is also noted in (S7) and (S8), although no additional information is given.

The mapped location of this findspot appears to represent a grid reference listed in the NCM's records. The source of this information is unknown. This grid reference clearly does not tally with the provenance reported in (S4), although it should be noted that the coastline has suffered considerable erosion in this area.

Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 24 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)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Palaeolithic.
<S2>Monograph: Roe, D. A. 1968. A Gazetteer of British Lower and Middle Palaeolithic Sites. CBA Research Report. No 8. p 238.
<S3>Article in Serial: Robins, P., Wymer, J. J. and Parfitt, S. 2008. Handaxe Finds on the Norfolk Beaches. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt III pp 412-415. p 414.
<S4>Article in Serial: Moir, J. Reid. 1927. A Palaeolith from Sidestrand, Norfolk. Antiquaries Journal. Vol VII No 4 pp 515-516.
<S5>Publication: Moir, J. Reid. 1927. The Antiquity of Man in East Anglia. p 68.
<S6>Publication: Wymer, J. J. 1985. Palaeolithic Sites of East Anglia. p 30.
<S7>Unpublished Contractor Report: 1997. The English Rivers Palaeolithic Project. Regions 8 (East Anglian Rivers) and 11 (Trent Drainage). Wessex Archaeology. CR-2, No.16.
<S8>Website: TERPS online database. Site 22511.

Related records - none

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