A polished flint axe-head was dredged from the River Ock at Charney Bassett in the summer of 1978. It was recovered from the Thames Water Authority spoil heap by Basil Sharpus. The axe head is of mottled grey flint, faceted at the cutting edge and with narrow facets along each edge and was loaned to ‘Wantage Museum’.
The extract from: The Oxoniensia website is given below.
[Basil died in 2004 and a seat in his memory is on the triangle of grass adjacent to St Peter’s Church. Donated by Nan, his widow, and Peggy his sister].
Flint has been used for the raw material for tools longer than any other material. It is very hard but is easily flaked & produces razor sharp flakes. Flint was formed in the chalk deposits in S England, 70 to100 million years ago water percolated through the chalk & dissolved the silicon molecules within the chalk. Over the years the silica built up to form layers or nodules of flint. Flint comes in various colours – light or dark brown, grey or black.
Flint axes vary considerably from one period to another, from simple Palaeolithic hand axes to the finely ground Neolithic axes such as this one. In the Neolithic (c4000 to c 2,500 BC) axes and knives were first roughed-out by knapping, but were then polished using abrasive sand and water, or a shaped rubbing stone. This time-consuming process produced a more durable cutting edge that could easily be sharpened.