These flints rank as some of the most important primitive stone tools ever discovered. They were excavated by our founder William Pengelly at Kents Cavern and recorded in 1880.
Though the flint pebbles appear rudimentary in design they would have been effective tools for processing locally hunted animals. Pebble is harder to work than higher quality flint found further afield, even for a skilled knapper. A fresh animal kill and lack of materials nearby is probably the reason a more refined tool wasn’t available.
In the centre is an example of a knapping flake found near the entrance to Kents Cavern. This would have been washed in as a result of breccia flowing into the cave during a flooding event. It is strong evidence that the tools were used either in or near the cave system.
Homo heidelbergensis visited Devon briefly around 500,000 years ago and may have left possibly the oldest hand axes ever discovered in Britain.