Item number: 0342
A British Neolithic Polished flint Axe of Unusually Large Proportions
Found in Norfolk During the 19th Century
Ex English Private Collection
With a variety of motivating factors, ever since their conception ancient flint tools have been coveted and prized by mankind. In the late 18th Century the pioneering Antiquarian ‘John Frere’ sent two flint hand axes to the Royal Academy in London and in an associated letter famously conveyed his radical interpretation of the finds, concluding that they had been “fabricated and used by a people who had not the use of metals”, in addition, “the situation in which theses weapons were found may tempt us to refer them to a very remote period indeed, even beyond that of the present world”. A view disregarded at the time due to overwhelming conflicting religious beliefs.
During the 19th and early 20th century, a combination of further discoveries, expanding knowledge and understanding of these ancient artefact’s led to extensive collections of axes being formed.
These finds are still being studied and debated, based on much evidence it is now generally accepted that many fine implements had a significance far beyond function, a visual display of the makers knowledge and skill or as a means of conveying the owners social status or power and certainly providing conclusive proof that our ancient ancestors possessed a high degree of culture evidenced in the beautiful reoccurring axe forms which are today being reappraised and increasingly appreciated as art in the contemporary world, in addition to their important archaeological significance.
This particularly substantial example has been formed from a fine grey flint which has acquired a beautiful patina and lustre to the surface, it displays some typical iron staining from burial