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On the Discovery of a Late Acheulean 'Giant' Handaxe from the Maritime Academy, Frindsbury, KentOpen Data

Letty Ingrey, Sarah M. Duffy, Martin Bates, Andrew Shaw and Matt Pope

Cite this as: Ingrey, L., Duffy, SM., Bates, M., Shaw, A. and Pope, M. 2023 On the Discovery of a Late Acheulean 'Giant' Handaxe from the Maritime Academy, Frindsbury, Kent, Internet Archaeology 61.


This article presents initial results from excavations at Maritime Academy, Frindsbury, which produced several handaxes, two of which can be classed as 'giant handaxes'. Artefacts were recovered from fluvial deposits in the Medway Valley and are thought to date from the Marine Isotope Stage 9 interglacial. This article focuses on the largest of these handaxes and presents metrical data for the artefact and initial comparison with similar artefacts from the British Palaeolithic.

Giant handaxe in someone's hand for scale
The Maritime Academy handaxe

Corresponding author: Letty IngreyORCID logo
UCL Institute of Archaeology/Archaeology South-East

Sarah M. DuffyORCID logo
Freelance imaging consultant

Martin Bates
University of Wales, Trinity St David's

Andrew ShawORCID logo
Wessex Archaeology

Matt PopeORCID logo
UCL Institute of Archaeology/Archaeology South-East

Full text

Figure 1: Location of the Maritime Academy Palaeolithic site. Top left shows the site’s location within the wider region. Top right shows the site’s position relative to current course of the Medway and the Palaeolithic sites of Cuxton and Frindsbury All Saints. The bottom image shows a plan of the site including the geoarchaeological test pits and mitigation areas discussed in the text

Figure 2: Schematic section showing the position of the handaxe (RF 53) within the sequence of deposits

Figure 3: Four views of the Maritime Academy ‘giant’ handaxe (RF 53), showing both faces of the artefact and the view of each side

Figure 4: Position of the metrical measurements taken and detailed in Table 1 (after Roe 1967)

Table 1: Artefact weight and metrical measurements (after Roe 1967). See Figure 4 for the position of the measurements

Table 2: The Maritime Academy alongside other 'giant' handaxes, after MacRae 1987 and Dale 2022

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