Volunteers at Arundel Museum have identified three flint hand axes in the museum’s stores, evidence of the area’s earliest inhabitants.

“This is very exciting for Arundel Museum. We moved to our new location in 2013 and as with all house moves it’s fantastic to rediscover treasures. The museum acquired these hand axes in the 1960s, three decades before the internationally important finds at Boxgrove. We now understand the significance of these hand axes because of our fantastic volunteers,” explained Arundel Museum’s Curator, Katy Elliott Viney, who is delighted with the discovery.

Volunteers Vicki Wells and David Shilston identified the flint hand axes in one of the museum’s storage boxes.

“It was amazing to unwrap the flint tools and realize how significant they might be”, said Vicki, a geologist and former BBC producer.The duo suspected the hand axes were made half a million years ago by the same early humans that hunted and made flint tools at Boxgrove, less than ten miles from Arundel.

“We realised the potential importance of the museum’s hand axes when we saw that they had been found nearby at Slindon, in similar geological strata to the Boxgrove site,” said David, a former President of the Geological Society of London. Dr Matthew Pope, Senior Research Fellow at University College confirmed the age of the hand axes.

What started as a project to audit fossils in storage, turned into a thrilling archaeological and geological journey with our earliest ancestors, who used flint from the local chalk to cut up the carcasses of prehistoric rhinoceros and wild horses that lived in the area.

The 500,000 year old flint tools are now on display in the Museum, helping to set the scene of earliest Arundel.

Stone Age flint tools case

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