This article appeared in the Spring 1978 (Issue #51) edition of the Kent Archaeological Review.
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Palaeolithic Handaxe Found at Deal.
Mr Webb, the owner of 41 Manor Road, Upper Deal, has for several years unearthed many odd-shaped flints on his property which he believed were artefacts from an early period. He brought the matter to the attention of the writer and invited him to inspect his collection. He possessed several struck flints, some being readily recognisable which could be assigned to the Neolithic/Bronze Age Period.
During the course of conversation it was mentioned that Mr. Webb's immediate neighbour at 39 Manor Road, a Mr Andrew Kuah, had also accumulated a large collection of flint implements which the writer was permitted to examine. One particular implement appeared far more ancient than the remainder. Mr Kuah loaned the flint to the writer and it was duly submitted to Mr Geoffrey Halliwell of the Dover Archaeological Group. Mr Halliwell assigned the flint, a grey/brown handaxe, to the Palaeolithic in the Acheulian tradition.
This small flint marks a most important turning point in the history of Deal. For many years local historians and archaeologists have searched for remains of this important period in man's development in an area where, apparently nothing from the Palaeolithic period has hitherto come to light. Recently, however, two handaxes of similar age were found at nearby Finglesham (KAR 39 and 43). It was for many years imagined that man of this period had neglected the vicinity.
Mr. Kuah's garden was visited and the find-spot (NGR TR35 365 516) at the western-most boundary of his property, is in an area where the brick earth is known to be several feet deep. The handaxe was found approximately 2 feet below the surface as were many of the other flints in his collection.
The sites of 39 and 41 Manor Road certainly represent one of the most anciently occupied areas within the present boundary of the town of Deal. Two hundred yards to the south-east, in a disused brickfield between Bruce Close and Mill Road, in 1908 a conical pit was excavated in which was found a collection of pottery and flints dating from the Mid Neolithic, Windmill Hill Culture, circa 2500 BC.
Opposite 39 and 41 Manor Road in an easterly direction an ancient pond was known to exist. Gilham Pond lay at the foot of the chalk range upon which the Mill Hill Miners Estate was built. The pond was situated in a shallow natural basin and may well have been of some importance in former times. It was filled in during this present century. The houses on the western side of Manor Road were built during the early 1930's on land which had remained purely agricultural and pastoral for many hundreds of years.
The writer is indebted to Messrs Webb & Kuah for bringing this discovery to his attention; to Mr Geoffrey Halliwell for the technical data and Mr Keith Parfitt for the drawings.
Palaeolithic Hand-axe Deal 1977. By G Halliwell
This interesting implement is a diminutive (98 x 56 x 22 mm.) pointed hand-axe which can be typologically assigned to the Late Middle Acheulian period. It weighs an estimated 96g. and is made of grey flint covered with an even and shallow ochraceous brown patina. It is bifacially worked and the working continues completely around the butt end. Characteristically, the pointed end was broken in antiquity.
There is an appreciable area on both faces of a shallow concretion which over- lies the original working and also extends over the broken tip, but no original cortex is present. Several small flakes have been removed from the original hand-axe surface, demonstrating the shallowness of the patina and the colour of the underlying flint. On one edge there is a marked and localised area where flint has been removed, either as a result of a deliberate fashioning for use as a scraper in a gouging manner, or as a result of consistent chopping action at this one point.
It is becoming increasingly recognised that although core hand-axes are the more obvious implements found in a Palaeolithic "Tool-kit", flake tools were utilised to an appreciable extent, and this implement may be an example of a hand-axe which was also used as a flake tool for shaping, for example, a wooden spear.
Although this particular hand-axe is very small, similar examples are not unknown in an Acheulian context, and the suggestion has been made that they were used by children. Locally the Canterbury Museum holds several examples, some of which are on display.