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1 December 2011
Stone Age axe found on Cotswold 'shore line'

Before the last Ice Age, the vast majority of what is now known as Warwickshire, in the English Midlands, was under the waters of a huge lake, called 'Lake Harrison' by geologists. The small Cotswold town of Moreton-in-Marsh would have been quite near the southern shore of that lake. Now it is hoped that the discovery of a Stone Age axe, on a building site, may add some weight to the theory.
     The discovery was made during a mandatory pre-construction archaeological survey and the axe has been initially approximately dated at 50,000 BCE. It is made of finely honed flint and is known as a 'cut butt' or 'Bout Coupé' hand axe, used for butchering large animals.
     Laurie Coleman, from Cotswold Archaeology, is quite excited by the find. "This finely worked stone tool is between 50,000 to 30,000 years old and provides evidence of Neanderthal presence in the area". He goes on to say, "The sophisticated technique used to produce the tool, together with its symmetrical outline and attention to detail, suggest well developed cognitive skills of the Neanderthals and maybe even their understanding of the abstract concept of beauty".
     The axe dates to a time of re-colonisation by Neanderthals, after a prolonged absence.

Edited from BBC News (23 November 2011), Glocestershire Echo (30 November 2011)

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