This article appeared in the Winter 1974 (Issue #38) edition of the Kent Archaeological Review.
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Mesolithic Axe from Darenth.
This splendid flint axe was found on the surface at Darenth by Mr S James in 1972 following the considerable ground-disturbance caused by pipe-laying operations. The find-spot was several hundred feet south of the Roman villa site on the east bank of the river Darent.
This specimen is remarkably similar to the 'Thames Pick' type from Bromley (described in KAR Number 25 (1971), page 154) which was also found by a river. It is in the same brown flint (which also resembles the Clactonian flint at Swanscombe), only 17 centimetres long but roughly the same shape in section. It has the same blunt butt, median ridge and large coarse flake-beds and fragmentation. The working end, however, is markedly different and of relatively fine workmanship, its shape meriting the description of hoe or adze which is sometimes given to these implements. There are two large cross flakes near the end, but the actual point is finished by step-flaking. There is a little cortex on the two upper surfaces, but the flatter undersurface is in a dull matt flint very crudely flaked and with no sign of the wear one might expect from an implement used as either as an adze or a hoe, though eminently suited for the latter purpose. This is the second example of a mesolithic 'Thames Pick' type to be found at Darenth, the other being found in 1953 and presumed lost. It can perhaps be dated. approximately, to 6000 BC and is widely distributed in South-East England. Being a heavy implement it may have been used for forest clearance. This specimen has kindly been drawn by Mr A E Beningfield.