FOUR PALAEOLITHIC HAND-AXES COLLECTED BY SIR CHARLES LYELL, ST ACHEUL
4,000 - 6,000 GBP
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- Four Palaeolithic bifacial handaxes collected by Sir Charles Lyell
one pointed and three ovate, one an uncommon twisted ovate shape, collected in St Acheul, flint, labelled "Sir C. Lyell" and "St Acheul", all in fresh condition, one unwashed with some patina remaining, length 175 to 240mm
PALAEOLITHIC STONE TOOLS COLLECTED BY LYELL WHEN RESEARCHING THE ANTIQUITY OF MAN. These specimens originate in one of the key sites for Palaeolithic archaeology. Stone tools began to be excavated in St Acheul, near Amiens, in the 1830s. The great antiquity of these objects began to be more widely accepted in the 1850s following parallel findings in Brixham cave and was a great step forward in the understanding of human origins. Lyell well understood this and made several trips to St Acheul, collecting more than 100 flint implements. Lyell illustrated one of these axes in the current lot, which has a distinctive fluke-scar, in The Antiquity of Man (see lot 388 and illustration). It is now understood that Acheulean tools were knapped by Homo Erectus, and that European tools may be up to 500,000 years old.
Sotheby's is grateful to Dr Laura Basell of Queen's University, Belfast, for her assistance in cataloguing this lot.