British Lower Palaeolithic Biface. Acheulian Industry.
Kent. Southern United Kingdom
This Acheulian biface found in Kent, is a classic Mode 2 implement fashioned from flint that has deeply yellowed through mineral absorption after deposition.
The Acheulian or Mode 2 industry from the lower Palaeolithic spans a time of roughly 500,000 – 200,000 BP and represents an advancement over the overlapping more primitive Mode 1 Clactonian tool type production as fashioned by Homo heidelbergensis in Britain some 400,000 years ago. Examples of the Acheulian industry can be found from southern Africa to Northern Europe and Asia, with the biface or ‘hand axe’ being the characteristic multipurpose tool of that period.
This example originates from deposits approximately 300,000 years old and is considered to have been the work of Homo heidelbergensis, a forefather to both Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens.
At the time that heidelbergensis sat chipping this biface, in the lower Palaeolithic period, global sea levels were much lower than they are today and Britain was still a peninsula jutting out from North West Europe, with warmer more Mediterranean-like climate. Lions, Hyena, Rhino, Hippopotamus and Elephant shared the Pleistocene landscape and at several Lower Palaeolithic sites in the United Kingdom, most notably Boxgrove and Swanscombe, flint bifaces and associated manufacturing ‘scatter’ have been found in large quantities, the tools being produced in situ presumably for despatching animals and butchering meat.
Stippled ink on paper
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