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Fossil hunter Bob Davis finds relic from Palaeolithic age
AN amateur fossil hunter believes he has unearthed evidence of human activity during the Stone Age along the Jurassic coast.
The coastline is famed for its geology and palaeontology but there is perhaps more underfoot than sediments and fossils.
Bob Davis found an ancient hand axe in a ploughed field above the landslip at Rousdon, near Lyme Regis.
The cutting tool is the sort of implement that was last used in the Palaeolithic era, which ended 10,000 years ago.
Mr Davis stumbled upon the sharpened flint on the sea side of a field near the Rousdon mansion, which 15 years ago was the home of Allhallows, one of the oldest public schools in Britain.
Allhallows closed in 1998, because of a fall in pupil numbers, and the Rousdon estate is now a housing development.
Mr Davis discovered the hand axe during a walk with friends while attending a reunion of former Allhallows pupils, as his wife Diana was a student there in the 1960s and 70s.
He said: “I don’t have much archaeological experience.
“I just happen to be good at spotting fossils and stone implements that are lying in my path.
“I suppose it’s a knack.
“The walk took us past this ploughed field and I picked out the triangular shape, it stands out.
“Hand axes are quite unusual to find.”
Mr Davis, who writes musicals for a living, said it would have been used by Stone Age inhabitants to cut things or to skin a rabbit for instance.
As well as the hand axe, Mr Davis found flint slivers in the field, suggesting that many hand axes were made on that spot.
He thinks Stone Age children were probably taught how to make tools there.
Mr Davis’s find is reported in the 2013 edition of the OH News, an annual magazine sent to former pupils of the school who are known as Old Honitonians.
2013 marks 75 years since the school moved to Rousdon from its ancient home 15 miles away at Honiton.
The magazine also reports on the successes of other former pupils, including Darryl Hunt, bass player with the Pogues rock group.
Darryl describes how he perfected his electric guitar technique in a basement under the Allhallows school chapel and recalls a trip to the Marine Theatre in Lyme in 1968 to watch the band Fleetwood Mac.
Anyone can read the 2013 OH newsletter at oldhonitonians.com.