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Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
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Geology Site Account

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Wallbury Camp Gravel Pit, LITTLE HALLINGBURY, Uttlesford District, TL493175, Historical site only

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Site name: Wallbury Camp Gravel Pit

Grid reference: approx. TL 493 175

Description of site:

Interesting or important discoveries are sometimes made by people with no specialist knowledge whatsoever. In the 1930s Essex geologist Samuel Hazzledine Warren was examining Essex gravel pits for signs of prehistoric man and had searched a gravel pit in a field near Little Hallingbury several times without finding anything of interest. But shortly afterwards, in the same pit, a boy scout on a camping holiday picked up a pointed flint hand axe on a gravel heap without having any idea what it was.

Warren describes the find in the Essex Naturalist in 1945 and states that the axe was 22 centimetres (nearly 9 inches) long and was in mint condition without any damage, making it one of the finest hand axes ever found in Essex. The pit was a little above the River Stort and close to Wallbury Camp, an Iron Age fort.

The axe seems to have been the casual loss of a wandering Neanderthal hunter and, although it cannot be dated, it is probably at least 100,000 years old. It is now in the British Museum, London.


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Reference: Warren 1945 (p.277), Wymer 1985 (p.276-277).

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