Lower Palaeolithic "Mask" Handaxe


An English Lower Paleolithic stone, with mask features, and high gloss patination at its edges.

A handaxe made on a flint pebble using a stone hammer to remove flakes from one side & from all around the butt & edges. The flake scars are all well patinated & it can be seen that the flakes were all removed at the same time in sequence. This reduction sequence is proof of the hominid origin of this ancient piece, worked into a tool some 350,000 to 400.000 years ago by Homo heidelbergensis.

The largely unworked side has two natural cavities towards the proximal end & these are unmistakably suggestive of the eyes of a mask or face. It would seem the hominid maker of this stone noticed these cavities and, selected the stone intentionally as they are a striking feature and serve no utilitarian purpose in a handaxe. This side with the "eyes" was left largely unworked. If one makes a diagonal line through the center of the two ‘eyes' the distance from either side of each to the edge of the handaxe is roughly the same. As such the two eyes are almost centered.

Notice also the unusual, creamy, luscious patination of the handaxe's tip, evidence of tens of thousands of years exposure of the stone to the elements.

length: 10.5cm/ 4.1 inches
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