Phil Harding

28 Neolithic hand axes recovered from seabed off Norfolk

Carved by the hand of a Neanderthal 100,000 years ago.

From 24 Hour Museum

The remarkable find was made by a Dutch amateur archaeologist, Jan Meulmeester, who sifted through gravel unearthed from a licensed marine aggregate dredging area 13km off Great Yarmouth and delivered to a wharf in southern Holland.

Reckoned to be the finest hand-axes that experts are certain come from English waters, the rare finds show that deep in the Ice Age, mammoth hunters roamed across land that is now submerged beneath the sea.

“These finds are massively important,” said Ice Age expert Phil Harding of Wessex Archaeology and Channel 4’s Time Team.

“In the Ice Age the cold conditions meant that water was locked up in the ice caps. The sea level was lower then, so in some places what is now the seabed was dry land.”

Bones and teeth, some of which may be from mammoths, and fragments of deer antler were also recovered along with the axes, which archaeologists believe would have been used by hunters in butchering the carcasses of the animals.