This article appeared in the Winter 1971 (Issue #27) edition of the Kent Archaeological Review.
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Flint Axe from Swanley.
Miss P George of the West Kent Border Archaeological Group reports the discovery by Miss Susan Thorpe of a flint axe on the surface in a market garden in Swanley (NGR TQ 523684) as well as a few worked flakes.
This Mesolithic tranchet axe contrasts with that shown on page 154 of KAR 25, but it is nevertheless from the same 'background. It is 4 inches long in grey-white flint with a small white cortex in two places. It appears to have been broken off, but it might have been truncated by frequent sharpening. It has the typical wide flake beds and is of triangular section with a consequent median ridge. The final cutting edge has apparently been formed with some difficulty and there seems to have been several attempts to produce a very crude concave bed on one side. This is generally more crudely flaked than the other, which is more finely done but has only a small convex tranchet edge.
The Thames pick (not really a pick at all since it has no point) is a variety of the heavier type of Mesolithic tranchet axe. The different sizes and forms imply different use, and this type is regarded as representative of the forest culture.
A distribution map of these axes shows a few in the South-West and the majority in South-East England. Most of those dredged from the Thames are of the heavy type, suggesting thick forest at the time.
Mesolithic activity extends either side of the separation of England from the Continent, the resulting climatic change being dated to about 5,000 BC.