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HER Number:MDV11598
Name:Prehistoric Tools from Broom Area, HawkChurch

Summary

Large number of Prehistoric stone implements including many hand axes found in gravel pits in the Broom area in Devon and Dorset from the 19th century onwards

Location

Grid Reference:ST 325 021
Map Sheet:ST30SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishHawkchurch
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishHAWKCHURCH

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: ST30SW/14
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: EXE 99/1998/1-8
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: EXE/A6112,
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: EXE?15/1921
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: EXE133/1986/1-167
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: EXE152/1986
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: EXE277/1989/1-24
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: EXE45/1949
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: EXE54/18/65-72
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: EXE54/1943/1-2,
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: EXE747/1913
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: EXE75
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: EXE75/1985/1-4
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: EXE761/1997/1-17
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: EXE762/1997/1-5

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ARTEFACT SCATTER (Palaeolithic - 698000 BC to 8001 BC (Between))

Full description

Evans, J., 1878, Untitled Source (Article in Serial). SDV104352.

D'urban, W. S. M., 1878, Untitled Source, 37 (Article in Serial). SDV104351.

Parfitt, E., 1884, On Paeleolithic implements and a Roman coin found at Broom, in the valley of the Axe, 504 (Article in Serial). SDV112295.

Evans, J., 1897, The Ancient Stone Implements, Weapons and Ornaments of Great Britain, 639 (Monograph). SDV104326.

Palaeolithic implements found in ballast from Broom siding, and other gravel pits in the Broom area, on Devon/Somerset border in later 19th century. Some in Royal Albert Memorial Museum Exeter and some at the Horniman Museum at Forest Hill in southeast London. Some artefacts much water worn but others quite sharp and uninjured. Ovate types predominating but pointed forms are not scarce. A few broad flakes trimmed at the edge of Mousterian type also occur.

Burnard, R., 1906, Early Man, 346 (Article in Serial). SDV322231.

Reid-Moir, J.
Reid-Moir, J.
, 1936, Untitled Source, 263-75 (Article in Serial). SDV104327.

Almost all the hundreds of implements recovered have been found in two layers, one containing unrolled flints, is from 30-35 feet (9.14-0.67 metres) below ground level. The second, a gravel layer containing rolled implements, occurs immediately above the first layer. Implements of the following types have been found: Chellean, Lower Acheulian, Late Acheulian and Clacton III. Most of the handaxes found were Late Acheulean. Some distinctive Clacton III flakes and cores. Period during which gravel laid down suggested.

Unknown, 1943, Untitled Source, 48-52 (Article in Serial). SDV104367.

Unknown, 1947, Untitled Source, 128-43 (Article in Serial). SDV104368.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1951 - 1953, ST30SW6, 6 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV104341.

Numerous Palaeolithic implements found in the ballast pit at Broom close to the River Axe in Hawkchurch Parish. Implements made of dark Upper Greensand and Chert. Some much weatherworn but others quite sharp and uninjured. A fine series is to be seen at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter and others at the Horniman Museum at Forest Hill in London. Sir John Evans found a specimen among the balast on the Southwest Railway in August 1877. Ovate type predominate but pointed forms are not scarce. A few broad flakes trimmed at the edge of Mousterian type also occur.
The implements have been found in two layers. One containing unrolled flints from 30-35 feet, 9.14 metres to 10.67 metres, below ground level. The second or gravel layer containing rolled implements occur immediately above the first layer. Implements of the Chellean, Lower Acheulian, Late Acheulian and Clacton III Periods have been found.

Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 25 (Monograph). SDV17562.

Roe, D. A., 1964, Untitled Source, 245-67 (Article in Serial). SDV104354.

Roe, D. A., 1968, British Lower and Middle Palaeolithic Handaxe Groups, 11 (Article in Serial). SDV104330.

A small sample from Broom held in the British Museum was studied. The sample was not a fair representation of the material from the site as the 'Bean Collection' was not available for study.

Rosenfeld, A., 1969, The Palaeolithic and Mesolithic, 129-33 (Article in Monograph). SDV322027.

The differing accounts of the stratigraphy of the gravels by Reid-Moir, Paterson and Green are discussed and illustrated by Rosenfeld. The stratified deposits are now quarried away so proof is not possible. Roe has shown a generalised distribution of handaxe shapes, both ovate and pointed. Four cleavers, all narrow. Range probably affected by aesthetic preference of early collectors - eg the virtual absence of other typically Acheulian artefacts such as cores. Several flakes indicate the presence of fully developed Levalloisian tortoise core technique (citing Roe). Other details: Figs.

Pearce, S. M., 1978, Devon in Prehistory, 19 (Monograph). SDV273286.

The Broom sites probably produced several thousand implements in all from the axe gravels, but findspots and stratigraphy are ill recorded, and the material now widely dispersed. Tools finely worked, in various forms of local Broom chert. Other details: probably 1978/9.

Pearce, S. M., 1981, The First Hunters and Farmers, 23, Fig 3.1 (Article in Monograph). SDV104349.

Timms, S. C., 1982, Marisco Castle, Lundy (Worksheet). SDV7799.

Ten handaxes said to come from Broom were on display in Barnstaple Athenaeum in 1982. Many bear the date '1887'.

Shakesby, R. A. + Stephens, N., 1984, The Pleistocene gravels of the Axe Valley, Devon, 77-88 (Article in Serial). SDV104332.

Discussion of the stratigraphy of the Pleistocene deposits in the Axe Valley, with reference to exposures visited at Broom at ST328025, ST329024 and ST326002 (?misprint for 326022 - FMG). A section recorded at the Railway Pit is described. Pollen analysis from the section is described: a Hoxnian date is suggested. Two unabraded Acheulian handaxes from 'Pratt's Pit' (not located) found by the authors in 1981 are illustrated.

Nature Conservancy, 1986, Designation of Site of Special Scientific Interest (Correspondence). SDV104333.

The face at the Railway Pit was scheduled as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1986.

Green, C. P., 1988, The Palaeolithic site at Broom, Dorset, 1932-41: from the record of C. E. Bean esq. ,F. S. A., 173-80 (Article in Serial). SDV104338.

Up to 1800 artefacts, predominantly handaxes, were recovered during the commercial excavation of the Broom gravel pits from the late 19th century onwards.

Roberts, A., 1989, Chert (Worksheet). SDV358942.

Two greensand chert implements found at Broom in the Axe Valley on a list of Devon material in the British Museum.

Unknown, 1992, Untitled Source (Article in Serial). SDV104358.

Wessex Archaeology, 1992 - 1993, Southern Rivers Palaeolithic Project, 163 (Report - non-specific). SDV124459.

Prolific discoveries of Palaeoliths associated with organic deposits within channel and floodplain sediments. 14 further axes are listed in museums at Avebury, Cambridge and Taunton as coming from 'Hawkchurch', probably from this site. Other details: AX-2 No 2 + AX-2 No 3.

Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1998, EXE 99/1998/1-8, 1-8 (Record Office Collection). SDV104335.

8 handaxes (chert) from Barnstaple Athenaeum now in Royal Albert Memorial Museum Exeter. 22 handaxes from Newham Museum now in Royal Albert Memorial Museum Exeter. 4 handaxes and 1 cleaver from Devizes Museum now in Royal Albert Memorial Museum Exeter. 24 handaxes from British Museum now in Royal Albert Memorial Museum Exeter. 167 handaxes from Salisbury and Wiltshire Museum now in Royal Albert Memorial Museum Exeter.

Hosfield, R. T. + Terry, R., 2000, Renewed excavations: Broom Palaeolithic sites, 3-8 (Article in Serial). SDV104336.

Excavation at the Broom Palaeolithic Sites in 2000 produced only 4 flint flakes. It was suggested that the majority of the c20 finds came from 'Pratt's Pit' at NGR ST32790241 & 'Pratt's New Pit' at NGR ST32800236 on either side of Holditch Lane in Dorset rather than 'Railway Ballast Pit'.

Hosfield, R. T. + Terry, R., 2001, Broom Palaeolithic sites, 1-5 (Article in Serial). SDV104371.

Hosfield, R. T., 2001, Palaeolithic extremes: an interim report from the Broom middle Pleistocene sites, 12-3 (Article in Serial). SDV104337.

The 2000 excavations identified the upper gravel-clay/silt-lower gravel sequence in section. The clay deposits in one section contained lenses of sand and fine gravels, within which cross-laminations suggest a south to north flowing ephemeral channel. The fresh artefact horizon was not identified.

Hosfield, R. T. + Chambers, J. C., 2002, The lower Palaeolithic site of Broom: geoarchaeoloical implications of optical dating, 33-42 (Article in Serial). SDV104339.

Optical dating resolution at Broom is unable to accurately date the duration of the middle bed's (containing the artefact assemblage) depositional phase. Dates do indicate a Lower Palaeolithic presence in southwest Britain. It is suggested that the sands and gravels were deposited slightly too early to contain the first evidence of Levallois technique in south-west Britain.

Hosfield, R. T. + Chambers, J. C., 2003, Recent research at the Broom Lower Palaeolithic site, No 297 (Migrated Record). SDV104340.

It is suggested that the artefacts show evidence of fluvial transport, and that at least some of the artefacts from the middle beds were not in situ.

Toms, P. S. + Horsfield, R. T. + Chambers, J. C. + Green, C. P. + Marshall, P., 2005, Optical dating of the Broom Palaeolithic sites: Devon & Dorset (Report - Scientific). SDV322023.

Luminescence Dating and Geochronology of the gravel beds at the 'Railway Ballast Pits' to the south of the River Blackwater suggested hominid presence from <325 ka to 205 ka.

Hosfield, R. + Brown, T. + Basell, L. + Hounsell, S. + Young, R., 2006, The Palaeolithic Rivers of South-West Britain: Final Report (Phases I & II), 15 (Report - non-specific). SDV341644.

Hicks, D. & Stevenson, A., 2013, World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum, A Characterisation. (Article in Monograph). SDV363549.

The Palaeolithic collections from Devon consist mainly of Lower Palaeolithic artefacts from the Axe Valley gravels in the area around Broom near the border with Dorset. The area has produced the greatest number of Palaeolithic artefacts in Southwest Britain, but was poorly understood until recent investigations of the area and of the research potential of existing collections conducted by the University of Reading. Within the Pitt Rivers Museum collection, one handaxe is provenanced to Hawkchurch near Axminster, Broom Ballast Pit. Seven other Axe Valley artefacts are just provenanced to Axminster, Broom or Broom gravel pits in general. Six handaxes provenanced to a ballast pit at Broomhill, Axminster could be of assistance in relocating and assessing the deposits that produced the implements.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV104326Monograph: Evans, J.. 1897. The Ancient Stone Implements, Weapons and Ornaments of Great Britain. The Ancient Stone Implements, Weapons and Ornaments of Great Britain. Unknown. 639.
SDV104327Article in Serial: Reid-Moir, J. Reid-Moir, J.. 1936. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 2. Paperback Volume. 263-75.
SDV104330Article in Serial: Roe, D. A.. 1968. British Lower and Middle Palaeolithic Handaxe Groups. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. 34. Unknown. 11.
SDV104332Article in Serial: Shakesby, R. A. + Stephens, N.. 1984. The Pleistocene gravels of the Axe Valley, Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 116. Paperback Volume. 77-88.
SDV104333Correspondence: Nature Conservancy. 1986. Designation of Site of Special Scientific Interest. Letter. Letter.
SDV104335Record Office Collection: Royal Albert Memorial Museum. 1998. EXE 99/1998/1-8. Royal Albert Memorial Museum. Unknown. 1-8.
SDV104336Article in Serial: Hosfield, R. T. + Terry, R.. 2000. Renewed excavations: Broom Palaeolithic sites. Lithics. 21. Digital. 3-8.
SDV104337Article in Serial: Hosfield, R. T.. 2001. Palaeolithic extremes: an interim report from the Broom middle Pleistocene sites. Devon Archaeological Society Newsletter. 79. 12-3.
SDV104338Article in Serial: Green, C. P.. 1988. The Palaeolithic site at Broom, Dorset, 1932-41: from the record of C. E. Bean esq. ,F. S. A.. Proceedings of the Geologists Association. 99. Unknown. 173-80.
SDV104339Article in Serial: Hosfield, R. T. + Chambers, J. C.. 2002. The lower Palaeolithic site of Broom: geoarchaeoloical implications of optical dating. Lithics. 23. Unknown. 33-42.
SDV104340Migrated Record: Hosfield, R. T. + Chambers, J. C.. 2003. Recent research at the Broom Lower Palaeolithic site. Antiquity. 77. Unknown. No 297.
SDV104341Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1951 - 1953. ST30SW6. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index. 6.
SDV104349Article in Monograph: Pearce, S. M.. 1981. The First Hunters and Farmers. Archaeology of the Devon Landscape. Paperback Volume. 23, Fig 3.1.
SDV104351Article in Serial: D'urban, W. S. M.. 1878. Geographical Magazine. Unknown. 37.
SDV104352Article in Serial: Evans, J.. 1878. Journal of the Anthropological Institute. Unknown.
SDV104354Article in Serial: Roe, D. A.. 1964. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. 30. Unknown. 245-67.
SDV104358Article in Serial: Unknown. 1992. Western Morning News. Newspaper/Magazine Cuttin.
SDV104367Article in Serial: Unknown. 1943. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. 9. Unknown. 48-52.
SDV104368Article in Serial: Unknown. 1947. Proceedings of the Geologists Association. 58. Unknown. 128-43.
SDV104371Article in Serial: Hosfield, R. T. + Terry, R.. 2001. Broom Palaeolithic sites. Quaternary Newsletter. 95. Unknown. 1-5.
SDV112295Article in Serial: Parfitt, E.. 1884. On Paeleolithic implements and a Roman coin found at Broom, in the valley of the Axe. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 16. A5 Hardback. 504.
SDV124459Report - non-specific: Wessex Archaeology. 1992 - 1993. Southern Rivers Palaeolithic Project. Wessex Archaeology Report. 2. A4 Stapled + Digital. 163.
SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 25.
SDV273286Monograph: Pearce, S. M.. 1978. Devon in Prehistory. Devon in Prehistory. Paperback Volume. 19.
SDV322023Report - Scientific: Toms, P. S. + Horsfield, R. T. + Chambers, J. C. + Green, C. P. + Marshall, P.. 2005. Optical dating of the Broom Palaeolithic sites: Devon & Dorset. English Heritage Centre for Archaeology Report. 16/2005. A4 stapled + Digital.
SDV322027Article in Monograph: Rosenfeld, A.. 1969. The Palaeolithic and Mesolithic. Exeter and its Region. Hardback Volume. 129-33.
SDV322231Article in Serial: Burnard, R.. 1906. Early Man. Victoria History of the County of Devon. 1. A4 Hardback. 346.
SDV341644Report - non-specific: Hosfield, R. + Brown, T. + Basell, L. + Hounsell, S. + Young, R.. 2006. The Palaeolithic Rivers of South-West Britain: Final Report (Phases I & II). English Heritage Report. PNUM 3847. A4 Stapled + Digital. 15.
SDV358942Worksheet: Roberts, A.. 1989. Chert. Devon County Sites and Monuments Register. Worksheet + Digital.
SDV363549Article in Monograph: Hicks, D. & Stevenson, A.. 2013. World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum, A Characterisation.. Palaeolithic British Isles. Hardback Volume.
SDV7799Worksheet: Timms, S. C.. 1982. Marisco Castle, Lundy. Devon County Sites and Monuments Register. Worksheet + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV64564Parent of: Palaeolithic Flints from the Broom Area (Find Spot)
MDV71457Parent of: Prehistoric Hand Axes from Broom Area (Find Spot)
MDV1956Related to: FINDSPOT in the Parish of Chardstock (Find Spot)
MDV53600Related to: Prehistoric Axe from southwest of Tytherleigh (Find Spot)
MDV53622Related to: Prehistoric Axes from the Axminster Area (Find Spot)
MDV53601Related to: Prehistoric Hand Axes from Hawkchurch (Find Spot)

Associated Finds

  • FDV298 - Axe (Lower Palaeolithic - 698000 BC to 180001 BC)
  • FDV300 - CORE (Lower Palaeolithic - 698000 BC to 180001 BC)
  • FDV299 - FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic - 698000 BC to 180001 BC)

Associated Events

  • EDV1721 - Southern rivers Palaeolithic project
  • EDV1723 - Optical dating of the Broom Palaeolithic sites: Devon & Dorset
  • EDV4434 - Geophysical Survey at Broom

Date Last Edited:Feb 7 2020 10:45AM