Stone Age to Iron Age 10: tranchet axe
[insert image F6765 Thames Pick]
This is a multi-functional flint tool known as a tranchet adze (a tool similar to an axe).
It was used in the Folkestone area in the Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) - the period between the end of the last Ice Age (about 12,000 years ago) and the start of settled farming about 5,500 years ago).
Tranchet adzes were used to shape tree trunks into planks, to make wooden fishing platforms, boats and even houses.
The advantage of tranchet adzes was the cutting edge could easily be re-sharpened, by knapping (chipping) a crosswise flake (called a tranchet flake) from the end.
This type is also known as a Thames Pick, because lots have been found along the River Thames.
This fine example was discovered high on the downs above Folkestone at Castle Hill.
Castle Hill gets its name because it’s where Folkestone’s Norman Castle used to be. The site was excavated in 1878 by Augustus Pitt Rivers one of the first archaeologists. It’s also known locally as Caesar’s Camp, although it has no known links with either Julius Caesar or the Roman army!