This is one of the finest (and probably the oldest) European Lower Paleolithic Oldowan pebble axes we have offered for sale. It is a flint pebble chopper axe made in the Mode 1 Oldowan tool technology. The site where it was discovered is famous for being one of the oldest Lower Paleolithic sites in West Europe but is very small. The tools occur in a peat layer beneath an ocean bluff but the site is now buried under fallen former Nazi bunkers and eroded bluff debris and sand. Beach action and erosion caused many of the tools previously collected there to be badly damaged or eroded by the wave action. This spectacular example is the exception and of all Oldowan pebble axes, this specimen has a prominent and masterfully created sharp cleaver-like chopping edge. The proximal end has been utilized to serve as an ergonomic hand and finger grip - a highly intelligent design concept considering how well it fits in the hand.
Extreme patina on the flint surface and marine life encrustations are a testament to its advanced prehistoric age. Lack of any unsightly nicks or breakage make this a choice grade example for the finest Paleolithic human tool collections. As a complete and superbly executed intact piece, it is one of the finest possible pebble axes that the site has been known to once produce. Large pebble choppers like this were used to smash the massive bones of fauna such as mammoths, rhinos and giant deer to gain access to the nourishing marrow inside. This Lower Paleolithic chopper displays remarkably well-executed workmanship and control to have flaked the well-formed edges. For any Paleolithic tool collection, this is a must have specimen as an example like this shows features that are very difficult to find in today's market.
WARNING: There are a host of these "tools" for sale on Ebay and other websites providing less information and understanding of Lower Paleolithic specimens. Many of these sources offer nothing more than damaged ancient river cobbles caused by environmental action (glacial disturbance, frost damage, etc.) or modern made fakes. Every broken cobblestone found is NOT a human-created Paleolithic tool! The determination of what is manmade and what is an ordinary broken river rock requires a very high level of understanding Paleolithic tool manufacture and technique as well as the experience to be able to differentiate the two and authenticate a genuine stone tool from this culture. Know your source and only deal with well-informed sellers who can help you understand the difference.
Oldowan pebble tools are THE FIRST recognized tools invented by the earliest of primitive humans from Africa. The Oldowan (or Mode I) was a widespread stone tool archaeological industry (style) in prehistory. These early tools were simple, usually made with one or a few flakes chipped off with another stone. Oldowan tools were used during the Lower Paleolithic period, 2.6 million years ago up until at least 1.7 million years ago, by ancient Hominins (early humans) across much of Africa. This technological industry was followed by the more sophisticated Acheulean industry. Oldowan stone tools are simply the oldest recognizable tools which have been preserved in the archaeological record. Early species of Homo such as H. habilis and H. ergaster are believed to be the primary tool makers of the industry during much of its use. Early Homo erectus appears to inherit Oldowan technology and refines it into the Acheulean industry beginning 1.7 million years ago.
The term Oldowan is taken from the site of Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, where the first Oldowan stone tools were discovered by the archaeologist Louis Leakey in the 1930s. Some contemporary archaeologists and palaeoanthropologists prefer to use the term Mode 1 tools to designate pebble tool industries (including Oldowan), with Mode 2 designating bifacially worked tools (including Acheulean handaxes), Mode 3 designating prepared-core tools, and so forth.
There is a flourishing of Oldowan tools in eastern Africa, spreading to southern Africa, between 2.4 and 1.7 mya. At 1.7 mya., the first Acheulean tools appear even as Oldowan assemblages continue to be produced. Both technologies are occasionally found in the same areas, dating to the same time periods. This realization required a rethinking of old cultural sequences in which the more "advanced" Acheulean was supposed to have succeeded the Oldowan. The different traditions may have been used by different species of hominins living in the same area, or multiple techniques may have been used by an individual species in response to different circumstances.
By 1.8 mya early Homo was present in Europe, as shown by the discovery of fossil remains and Oldowan tools in Dmanisi, Georgia. Remains of their activities have also been excavated in Spain at sites in the Guadix-Baza basin and near Atapuerca. Most early European sites yield "Mode 1" or Oldowan assemblages. The earliest Acheulean sites in Europe only appear around 0.5 mya. In addition, the Acheulean tradition does not seem to spread to Eastern Asia. It is unclear from the archaeological record when the production of Oldowan technologies ended. Other tool-making traditions seem to have supplanted Oldowan technologies by 0.25 mya.
No one can doubt the importance that pebble tools hold in the history of human development. Their very emergence in Africa allowed the earliest humans to butcher animals for their meat - the needed nourishment that allowed humans to survive and flourish to one day populate and rule the earth.