Southall Man

I have had a Neolithic flint axe head since I was a boy. It is an object I have always found satisfying to hold, simply from the knowledge it was fashioned by a human hand some 5000 years ago. I have not investigated its recovery until now.

1930's newspaper cuttings re. James Lever

My great-grandfather, James Lever, died in August 1934 at the age of 74. He presumably worked from about 1875 to 1925. He was employed as a brickmaker in Yeading, Stockley, and Southall. During this work he found the axe head.

1911 map showing Southall

Brickmaking occurred where the raw material, brickearth, existed. Over ages the course of the Thames has moved leaving a number of river valley 'terraces' formed by succeeding flood plains. Brickearth is part of these alluvial deposits. The ground in the district of Southall is London Clay capped by 'Taplow Terrace Gravel' and brickearth. You can see part of this district on an Ordnance Survey map of 1911. Even then, the place you are interested in is on the edge of the map!

Delving deeper into the local geology, under the clay beds is chalk. Found in chalk, is flint.

Photo of New Stone Age flint axe head

The axe head has aesthetic as well as functional qualities. It has a beautiful, complex, smoothly curving shape. To make it you needed to be as able as people today. This was the work of fully modern man.