Late Neolithic /Early Bronze Age semi-polished flint axe, field find, Norfolk England.
Throughout the whole evolution of humankind, from the first instance of tool use some 1.8 million years ago, stone has been by far the most widely used material utilised and fashioned by man. It was only with the ability to extract copper, as recently as 7,000 years ago, that the slow transition from the use stone implements to those of metal began, a transition that may well have witnessed the continued use of lithic tools contemporaneously throughout the Bronze age and possibly even into the early Iron age, around 500BC.
The Neolithic, or new stone age, was the shortest and final phase of the stone age and bore witness to perhaps the greatest revolution in human history, that of farming and permanent settlement on the land.
It is during the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age periods that we see the first field boundaries appear, and more significantly the raising of impressive megalithic structures across Briton and Europe such as the enigmatic stones at Callanish on Lewis, the Ring of Brodgar on Orkney, Avebury in Wiltshire and of course Stonehenge, considered by some scholars as amongst other things, a manifestation of the community and the ability of tribal leaders to gather considerable manpower and resources.
Tools such as this semi-polished flint axe head would have been important daily implements for the felling of trees and the clearing of land, and with man’s propensity to make war, augmented by his increasingly sedentary lifestyle, hafted with a long wooden handle, a flint axe such as this, could also have made a dangerous and functional weapon.
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