The Broxted Axe

A Report by Irene and Keith Jones

Irene and Keith Jones live in Broxted where, when building their house in 1979, they found a flint axe head.  The axe head is approximately 9 cm long and measures almost 5cm across at its widest section (31/2 x 13/4 inches).

Irene writes:

We found the flint axe while digging a soakaway to take drain water from the house that we were building.  It was 1979.  The axe was found approximately 1 metre into the hole, and in a layer of sand.  There were many different layers, reflecting the fact that our house is on a south facing incline which ends at a stream bed.  There are levels of small pebbles, larger pebbles, different sands and clay indicating that, over the millennia, the stream could have cut deeper into the incline.  There is evidence of chalk left, but eroded.

 The axe and pebble layers are formed from flint, the stone usually associated with chalk, although our archaeology expert suggests that the brown staining on our axe was due to it being laid in peat at one time.  Due to the geology of this part of Britain, the axe could have been carried from its original site by any number of water courses. From the stream the land rises steeply in a southerly direction towards a high ridge.

This was a very interesting find.  Archaeological experts have examined the axe head, and have confirmed that it dates from the Neolithic period which – in Britain – dates from around 4000 to 2500 BC.  This means that the axe head could be from 4,500 to 6,000 years old.  An expert on such Neolithic tools has provided the following drawing and description.

This is a Neolithic flint axe; it has very fine flake removals on both surfaces and there are also polished areas.  It is stained brown, suggesting it was laid in peat, which would also account for its good condition with minimal damage.

Stone tools are as important as pottery and metal finds from prehistoric sites.

Photographs of the flint axe head:

Axe head - showing place for handle

Axe head - cutting side

Artist's impression of Neolithic axe


Last updated 7th May 2019