Record Details

NHER Number:8342
Type of record:Find Spot
Name:Lower/Middle Palaeolithic flint handaxe and flake


A Lower/Middle Palaeolithic flint axe was found on the here beach in 1914. This handaxe is in an unusal good condition for a beach find and had apparently been recovered from a deposit of flint exposed following a "scour" of the beach. A Lower/Middle Palaeolithic handaxe finishing flake was found on the beach at roughly the same location in 1979.
A second handaxe previously recorded under this number is now recorded under NHER 55740.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 4141 2884
Map Sheet:TG42NW

Full description


1914. Stray Find.
Found on the beach, 33 yards [30m] due north of ruined church:
1 Lower/Middle Palaeolithic ovate handaxe. Donated to Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 1925.119). See copy of photocopy in file (S1). Information from (S2).
This object was exhibited by its finder at a meeting of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia on January 25 1915 and was subsequently described in (S3) as a "…well-shaped Palaeolithic ovate, 5 3/8in by 3 3/8in, with lustrous black surface…". It was noted in (S4) and subsequently described and illustrated in a short noted published by J. Reid Moir (S5). Reid Moir reported that he visited the site but could find no other Palaeolithic implements. He also noted that the finder had reported finding the handaxe in a bed of large flints that had been exposed by a ''scour" of the beach.

The handaxe was subsequently mentioned in (S6), (S7) and (S8). It is listed in (S9) and described on (S10) and in (S11) as an ovate in unrolled and unpatinated condition. It is also noted in (S12), (S13) and (S14), although no additional information is given.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 9 June 2013.

1 July 1979. Stray Find.
Found by J. J. Wymer at same site (approximately [1]) during walk along Lessingham foreshore:
1 Lower/Middle Palaeolithic flint finishing flake. Small, very rolled. Now part of the Wymer Collection held by Royal Holloway (W3907). Information from (S11) and (S15). Also noted on (S10).
P. Watkins (HES), 9 June 2013.

June 2014.
This record previously detailed a second handaxe that was initially reported as having been found near this location. This information was added in error after it was suggested that the NHER had failed to record this find - the handaxe had actually been assigned a separate NHER number soon after it was seen by the Norwich Castle Museum (NHER 40775). Discussions between the finder and R. Hoggett (HES) in 2011 revealed that this second handaxe had actually been found in Happisburgh and not at the grid reference originally given.
P. Watkins (HES), 9 June 2014.

Monument Types

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

Associated Finds

  • AXE TRIMMING FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • 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>Illustration: Photocopy of a Palaeolithic flint handaxe from Lessingham. Paper. 1:1.
<S2>Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Palaeolithic.
<S3>Article in Serial: 1915. Summary of Proceedings. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia. Vol II Pt I (for 1914-15) pp 154-157. p 156.
<S4>Article in Serial: Clarke, W. G. 1919. The Distribution of Flint and Bronze Implements in Norfolk. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia. Vol III Pt I (for 1918-19) pp 147-149. p 148.
<S5>Article in Serial: Moir, J. Reid. 1926. Man and the Ice Age. MAN. Vol XXVI April pp 70-72.
<S6>Article in Serial: Moir, J. Reid. 1935. A St. Acheul Hand-axe from the Cromer Coast. Vol XV No 1 pp 73-74. p 73.
<S7>Article in Monograph: Sainty, J. E. 1935. Norfolk Prehistory. British Association for the Advancement of Science. Report of the Annual Meeting, 1935. Norwich, September 4-11. British Association for the Advancement of Science. Appendix pp 60-71. p 63.
<S8>Article in Serial: Sainty, J. E. and Clarke, R. R. 1946. A Century of Norfolk Prehistory. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXIX pp 8-40. p 70.
<S9>Monograph: Roe, D. A. 1968. A Gazetteer of British Lower and Middle Palaeolithic Sites. CBA Research Report. No 8. p 230.
<S10>Record Card: Wymer, J. J. Wymer Index Card - Palaeolithic. Lessingham.
<S11>Publication: Wymer, J. J. 1985. Palaeolithic Sites of East Anglia. p 35.
<S12>Unpublished Contractor Report: 1997. The English Rivers Palaeolithic Project. Regions 8 (East Anglian Rivers) and 11 (Trent Drainage). Wessex Archaeology. p 50.
<S13>Website: TERPS online database. Site 22557.
<S14>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 415.
<S15>Unpublished Document: Wymer, J. J. Journal. No 7. p 30.

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