The Waverley Wood Handaxe

Contributed by Warwickshire Museum Service

A Lower Palaeolithic Handaxe from Waverley Wood, Warwickshire.

Handaxes were the Swiss Army knives of the Early Stone Age.This handaxe is one of five andesite examples found at Waverley Wood, along with other stone objects from the site, they are some of the oldest stone tools in the country.
The handaxes were found with the fossilised remains of straight-tusked elephants, prehistoric horse and water voles, their age and significance for the history of early humans in the Midlands was soon recognised. The andesite rock they are made of is likely to come from the Lake District and may have been deliberately chosen and brought into this area for its colour and appearance, which is very different to the local quartzite.
The presence of these axes with the animal remains tell us that groups of an early form of human, Homo heidelbergensis were moving around this area of the Midlands half a million years ago, in an Inter-glacial period. The variety of animal remains gives us some idea about the climate of the time, which was very different to that of today.

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