I’ve always been fascinated by Stone Age tools, and in this exhibition I’ve focused mainly on the Acheulean handaxe, a simple but elegant style of tool made by our early Hominid ancestors and dating back about 1.7 million years. The handaxe was a rugged multi-purpose tool, like an extension of the hand, which gave our ancestors added power to hit, cut, scrape, pierce, shape, dig, throw and chop. It improved their ability to dig for roots and skin animals.
It was an enduring tool, which never rusted or eroded. It could be made in a matter of hours if suitable stone was available and carried with one on a journey. Or it was dropped where it was made and left for future generations to use, copy or improve on – resulting in the more recent symmetrical stone arrow-heads which are beautifully crafted. This ability of our ancestors to imagine and conceive the desired handaxe shape is the first evidence of man imposing an idea or preconceived design onto the external natural world.