Welton-le-Wold stone axes

Between 1969 and 1972, Professor Alan Straw and Chris Alabaster (a schoolboy) discovered three hand axes, flint tools and animal bones in a quarry face at Welton-le-Wold. It was soon realised that these finds were important not just for their extreme age, but for their context within the quarry face.

It is common for finds of this age to be disturbed by ice age glaciation – the huge ice sheets pushing a mass of rock in front of them and churning up the existing rock. At Welton-le-Wold, these later ice sheets rode over the top of the earlier deposits, leaving them undisturbed. The finds that were made were being found exactly where they had been for the last 300,000 years.

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