Edged weapons



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Interview of Mike Chambers by Jonathan Draper

Mike Chambers is a beachcomber who has found many interesting finds. However the most important of these finds is the Happisburgh hand axe. It is this find that is discussed at length in the interview. Note that access copy of recording has had minor editing and therefore slightly effects timings given below (which relate to original).

00:00-05:00 (minutes:seconds) - introductions; links with Norfolk; museums visited; describes interest in and practice of beach combing, including effects of WWII mining; describes finding Happisburgh hand axe (03:30).

05:00-10:00 - describes why he contacted Norfolk Museum and Archaeology Service and their realisation of possible age of axe; details importance of amateurs to archaeology; mentions other interesting finds (approximately 01:03 m:s deleted from access copy due to references to site location).

10:00-15:00 - details practice of beach combing and how coast changes each day because of tides and freeze thaw of water from fields, his motives; mentions finding of amber, equipment used on beach, wildlife seen on beach.

15:00-20:00 - remarks on keeping of records, when and for how long he walks on beach, importance of hand axe being found in situ, finding wood and fir cones of similar age to axe, describes peculiarity of tides and beach combing techniques.

20:00-25:00 - mentions other finds, including fir cones; age of hand axe; finding of hand grenade at Dunwich; mine clearance; finds related to crashed war planes including a merlin engine.

25:00-30:00 - describes ease of beach combing, seasonal variations in beach combing; nesting habits of sand martins; finding hippopotumus vertibrae.

30:00-35:00 - describes in detail the finding of hand axe; depth of hand axe, amount of sediment above it, circumstances of the find, why it caught his eye, taking it to Cromer Museum and what happened afterwards.

35:00-40:00 - showing archaeologists where axe was found, finding flint knife and bone which had marks made by the flint knife; erosion of cliff; feelings upon finding axe (approximately 01:59 m:s deleted from access copy due to references to site location).

40:00-45:00 - describes feelings evoked by hand axe, describes the actual find, discusses views on treasure.

45:00-50:00 - describes people's reaction upon handling the axe; again describes what happened after finding axe.

50:00-end - describes importance of find going to the museum, what he thinks find contributes to knowledge of past; again discusses thoughts provoked by the axe, who used it and why.

Jonathan Draper; 20th century-; archivist