Record Details

NHER Number:5654
Type of record:Find Spot
Name:Unprovenanced Palaeolithic flint handaxes and flakes, Santon (Lynford, poorly located)


Early sources suggest that Santon (now part of Lynford parish) was one of several locations along the Little Ouse valley that produced Palaeolithic implements during the 19th century. A number of objects that survive in museum collections (including 9 handaxe) are recorded as being from Santon and may well be from this area, although there is possible confusion with Santon Downham in Suffolk which also produced many Palaeolithic finds around the same time.

Images - none



Full description

Palaeolithic worked flints thought to have been recovered in the Santon area of what is now Lynford parish during the late 19th century and/or early 20th century but with little additional information regarding provenance.


According to Roe (S1) the surviving unprovenanced material from "Santon" includes:
9 handaxes
2 flake implements/retouched flakes.
1 unretouched flake.
These objects are listed as being held by the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (CUMAA), the Norwich Castle Museum (NCM), the Pitt Rivers Museum (Oxford) and the Warrington Museum.

Identifying these objects is difficult due to the large numbers of Palaeolithic finds that were recovered at nearby Santon Downham (Suffolk) during the late 19th century.

These various objects are also listed on (S3) and in (S4), although only limited additional information is given. These sources make no mention is made of any finds in the NCM and it should be noted that no Palaeolithic finds with this exact provenance appear to be listed in the museum's records. This material is also noted in (S5) and (S6).

A note on (S2) suggests that the Pitt Rivers Museum holds 3 handaxes that were found between 1866 and 1868.

The CUMAA's current records suggests that it holds at least 9 handaxes with some form of "Santon" provenance. Confusingly all are listed as having the provenance "Norfolk; Santon Downham". It does however appear that at least some of these implements were originally recorded as being from "Santon, Norfolk" or simply "Santon".


Although it is possible that some of the objects seen by Roe were actually from Suffolk there is some evidence to suggest that Palaeolithic material had indeed been recovered at the Norfolk Santon.

In 1866 H. Prigg gave a paper at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science on recent Palaeololithic discoveries in the gravels of the Little Ouse Valley (S7). He described being "…at Santon, in the spring of 1862…[when]…the first implement was discovered" and, significantly, then mentioned discoveries at Santon Downham; suggesting that material had indeed been recovered at both locations. It appears that this paper was the reason that Santon was listed in (S8) as one of the locations that had produced Palaeolithic material prior to 1907. Santon is also listed by Clarke in (S9) as a location that had produced surface implement of Palaeolithic date.

Apparently finds at Santon are also noted in (S10) although this source could not be located.

Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 13 May 2013 and 19 November 2014.

Monument Types

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

Associated Finds

  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 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 235.
<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. Lynford (Santon).
<S4>Publication: Wymer, J. J. 1985. Palaeolithic Sites of East Anglia. p 53.
<S5>Unpublished Contractor Report: 1996. The English Rivers Palaeolithic Project. Regions 9 (Great Ouse) and 12 (Yorkshire and the Lincolnshire Wolds). Wessex Archaeology. LLO-3, No.8.
<S6>Website: TERPS online database. Site 22764.
<S7>Article in Monograph: Prigg, H. 1867. On the Occurrence of Flint Implements in the Gravel of the Little Ouse Valley at Thetford and elsewhere. Report of the Thirty-Sixth Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science; held at Nottingham in August 1866. pp 50-51.
<S8>Article in Serial: Clarke, W. G. 1907. The Distribution of Flint and Bronze Implements in Norfolk. Transactions of the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society. Vol VIII Pt III (for 1906-1907) pp 393-409. p 396.
<S9>Article in Serial: Clarke, W. G. 1913. Norfolk Implements of Palaeolithic "Cave" Types. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia. Vol I Pt III (for 1912-13) pp 338-345. p 338.
<S10>Article in Serial: Fitch, R.. 1869. Flint implements at Santon Downham. East Anglian Handbook. pp 57-59. p 58.

Related records - none

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