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| Hoxne Handaxe Freehand Drawing |
[515 x 407 jpg]
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|Description ||Kerry Prince has submitted the following information about this outstanding freehand drawing.|
John Frere (1740–1807)
On 10th of August 1740 John Frere was born in Finningham, near Hoxne. As well as being a country squire at Roydon Hall, he was a graduate of Cambridge and a member of both the Royal Society of Antiquars and the Royal Society. In June 1797, Frere paused to watch workmen digging clay for bricks in a pit at the site of the Hoxne clay brick pit. His attention was caught by the regularly shaped triangular flints which the workmen were using to fill up potholes in the road. Frere recognised the flints as human tools which we now call hand axes. This was the earliest recognition that hand axes were the work of early humans - rather than the widely held view that they were the result of thunderbolts or meteorites. The flints had come from a layer of gravel 12 feet below the surface, underneath layers of sand and brick-earth. Frere correctly interpreted the overlying deposits as riverine.
On the 22 June 1797, Frere wrote a letter to the Royal Society of Antiquars (illustrated with two fine engravings above and two samples of hand axe) which would later set the stage for Palaeolithic Archaeology as we know it today. One of the hand axes is on permanent display at the British Museum.
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