“This palaeolithic hand axe found at Llanaway is a particularly beautiful flint hand axe.


Godalming Museum Paleolithic flint axe
Copyright: Image courtesy of Brian Wood

It is the oldest human artefact in Godalming Museum’s collection, and at at least 400,000 years old, it always gives me a thrill to handle an object so unimaginably ancient. Llanaway was a small estate between Godalming and Farncombe, owned in the 19th century by 3 sisters, the Hallam sisters, who were very involved in local good works. In the early 20th century the last sister sold part of the estate for a new school: Godalming Junior School. After her death the estate was laid out for building, with Hallam and Llanaway Roads continuing the name of the estate and of the family who had lived there for so many years.  The local councillor who donated this hand axe built a house in Llanaway Road, and it is tempting to think that the axe was found during building operations.”

Alison Pattison, curator of Godalming Museum.

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One Response to Godalming Palaeolithic hand axe

  1. More recent reassessment of this handaxe suggests it is around 50,000 years old – so it is no longer the oldest human artefact in the collection (which includes older handaxes from the Farnham river gravels) but remains, as far as I am aware, the oldest artefact from Godalming / Farncombe. Happy to be corrected though …

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