Hand axe at Le Pommier

Pre-historic Hand Axe at Le Pommier Wine Estate.

A hand axe is a prehistoric stone tool with two faces, the longest-used tool in human history.

The hand axe was the most basic tool in the Stone Age and was used to make weapons, tools, and weapons from stone.

The hand axe was first used in Africa about 2.6 million years ago. It was the first tool used by hominids, or human ancestors, and was the first tool used by the Homo genus.

Hand axes and cleavers are found in many vineyards in the valleys of the Eerste, Berg, Breede and Olifants Rivers in the South-Western Cape. Montagu Cave is remarkable for the fact that it is one of only 6 cave sites in Southern Africa with Earlier Stone Age tools.

The Stone Age was when most of the tools that hunter-gatherers used were made by creating sharp edges by striking one stone against another. Many fine-grained rocks will produce sharper edges than a metal knife, but stone becomes blunt much more quickly than metal. People became very skilled at making stone tools, also called artefacts, and over hundreds of thousands of years, Stone Age technology and lifestyle in Southern Africa underwent several significant changes. Archaeologists focus on stone tools as the primary source of evidence for the presence of people in the landscape in the past because they are almost indestructible and therefore are often all that is left behind after bones, wood, plant remains, and even shells have disintegrated.

Stellenbosch was one of the first places in South Africa where earlier Stone Age tools, also known as Acheulian after the site of St Acheul in France, were described in print.

A little history of Franschhoek & Banhoek Valley

Franschhoek was initially called ‘Olifantshoek’ (Elephant’s Corner), undoubtedly due to the large number of elephant herds, European explorers would have encountered on their travels through the valley. As with many mountain passes, settlers often followed the ‘Olifant Pad’, paths defined by the seasonal migrations of these large and lovely animals.

The French Huguenots arrived in 1688 In the Banhoek. Banghoek or “the scary corner” was also known as “De Bange Hoek”. The old pass that ran through this area was dangerously steep, with gangs, escaped slaves, lions, leopards, and other animals roaming wild. In 1972 the old pass was replaced by the new scenic road making it no more the treacherous and frightening route of those early days. Today you can still drive the oldest historical pass in South Africa, dating back to 1692.

A traveller crossing the narrow, then-dangerous Helshoogte (Hell’s Heights) pass had no way of knowing if he would be in the path of migrating elephant or – worse – become lunch to a leopard. While the elephants are long gone, the majestic mountains of the Banghoek are still home to some leopards and other wild cats; farmers have captured these cats on their CCTV cameras in the vineyards.

Le Pommier is so excited to share a little bit of history – here on our farm! 

So that explains a lot about why we found four Hand axes in our Sauvignon Blanc and Malbec vineyard blocks! All of them are different in size.

We will be on the lookout for more! #lovelepommier

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