With its ghostly white-gray flint sporting a heavy prehistoric patina from cave floor burial in a wet environment, this stunning European Acheulean flint bifacial hand axe features an unusual yet, ingeniously designed grip of immense ergonomics. It was fashioned by Homo erectus (H. heidelbergensis), the first humans to occupy Europe, and dates back to the Acheulean, Lower Paleolithic Period, the predominant tool technology of the Homo erectus people in Europe from 1 million years ago to possibly as recent as 130,000 years ago. Most impressive is its highly unusual design on the grip. Its prehistoric maker carefully selected a natural flint nodule with an already-comfortable grip feature, and proceeded to flake the rest of the body and tip, retaining this natural form on the proximal end. With the thumb, fingers and palm, fitting perfectly in these natural stone depressions, the axe is ideally suited for right and left hand use. This is NOT a typical Acheulean design on the grip end demonstrating the ingenuity and power of the prehistoric human mind in executing a physical design from careful thought. The hand axe is as found and is complete, exactly as made with no modern damage. Intact mineral deposits deep in micro-crevices and ancient hinge fractures, as well as no modern flaking or crushing, provide positive proof of age, authenticity and lack of any modern alterations.
Despite handling an extraordinary number of artifacts in our profession, this specimen just stands out as one of the finest examples of EARLY ACHEULEAN European hand axe technology we have offered. It features exceptional workmanship for this period, with masterfully executed flaking on both sides, as well as the well-thought hand grip that must be held to be fully appreciated.
From a very old former French collection. Today, digging for new specimens is forbidden and has been for decades with most of the best pieces being found in the first half of the last century. Finding an exquisite piece like this ONLY comes from coveted old collections in Europe and hand axes like this usually move from one collection to the next in private collector circles, rarely making it out of the country. Very highly recommended! No Paleolithic collection should be without representative tools of Europe's first humans!
Fine quality European Acheulean tools are far more rare than their African counterparts and often move from one private collection to the next as many sites are now destroyed, built over or protected. In the past decades, European auctions have routinely set records for the highest prices realized on spectacular examples of Prehistoric European stone tools like this. Finest grade specimens are so few in number while the buyer market continues to expand and chase after the best material with no apparent price ceiling in sight. Nevertheless, the prices STILL, are a paltry comparison to much of the more mature rare collectibles on the market and Paleolithic artifact prices still really don't reflect the substantially higher rarity of these artifacts. As ever-increasing buyer demand continues to pursue the best pieces, the actual number of this material is sobering and we are likely to see prices easily rise ten-fold on top-grade specimens, in the next several years. The words "undervalued" and "collectible" are seldom found together in today's world but the realm of European and African Paleolithic artifacts is one where you can still find an emerging market and one of the greatest promises for future investment.