The Dallow Farm hand-axe: Worthington George Smith’s association with a very early archaeological find

P.G. Hoare, N.M. Ashton


Worthington George Smith’s (1835–1917) highly significant contributions over many years to the development of Palaeolithic archaeology include a single event that has received very little notice. It concerns his recording and preservation of a flint hand-axe that was discovered well before the birth of the subject as an academic discipline. The implement was found by a farsighted Luton (Bedfordshire) farmer in 1830. It reached Smith in 1890 when a third party attempted to sell it to him; Smith in his turn, ensured that it found its way to the British Museum. As we approach the centenary of Smith’s death, it is an appropriate time to draw attention to this landmark episode.

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