British/European 'Handaxe Sculpture' Symbolizing Traditon / e)frzpltoakpl1
Oakley (1961: plate 1): "Acheulian hand axes from Furze Platt near Maidenhead" Right, length: 39.5 cm or 15.6 inches; weight 7.5 pounds; Left, length 6 cm or 2.4 inches. The Furze Platt industry belongs to the Pointed Cordiform Group and dates to OIS 9, c. 300,000 BP.
Comment: Just as Wymer doubted a merely utilitarian interpretation for all handaxes, citing for instance this Furze Platt handaxe, so did Kenneth P. Oakley. Apparently quietly expressing his doubts, Oakley presented this photo as the first image of his classic Man the tool-maker, right next to the title page. If, as demonstrated at Boxgrove, the 'perfect' handaxe for meatcutting was ovate and ranged between 10 and 16 cm (or roughly 4-6 inches), that is, palm-sized, then on the utilitarian hypothesis alone one must suppose these early hominids from Furze Platt were giants and dwarfs. Clearly, some handaxes are non-utilitarian and are either /both intentionally aesthetic ('art of art's sake) and symbolic (religious, social prestige, etc.).
Illus. © Oakley, K. P. (1961). Man the tool-maker. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. P;ate 1.