Welcome to the Roman Baths Blog!

This blog is a behind the scenes look at the Roman Baths in Bath. We hope you enjoy reading our stories about life surrounding the Roman Baths.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Tuesday Times Tables: Fascinating Flint

Flint is an exceptionally hard material, and if worked correctly, it can be sharper than a metal razor. It’s no surprise then that it is one of the first materials to be shaped by prehistoric man.

Examining flint tools today connects the modern world with the prehistoric in a way that reminds us of the extraordinary ingenuity that brought us to where we are now.

In an attempt to celebrate this connection, a small assortment of the Roman Baths’ most impressive flint tools were on display for one night next to the Great Bath for visitors to handle.

Our handling tables give visitors the chance to pick up and examine objects from our collection.

The Roman Baths has well over a thousand individual pieces of flint in its collection from archaeological sites throughout Bath and North East Somerset, including arrowheads, scrapers, and blades. At first glance, many visitors could easily make out the familiar shape of an arrowhead, or a small blade, but the earliest flint tools are less familiar. One of the most remarkable examples was on display for handling – a handaxe, found in Priston.

A Palaeolithic handaxe. The point of the axe has broken off.

We can recognise the handaxe (pictured above) by its sharp edges that would have joined at an obvious point, had the point not broken off. It sits in the hand comfortably, and provokes the holder to try and imitate its original owner. Self-restraint comes easy when reminded that this particular handaxe was created over 250,000 years ago.

Next to that, the other objects on the table seemed relatively young, ranging from 11,000 to 4,000 years old.

The age of these objects is often astounding, and almost impossible to grasp. Even more astounding is that prehistoric worked flint can be found in the most common of places, like a garden or field. All it takes is a keen eye and interest, and before long you could build up a collection as big as the Roman Baths!


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