added by archaeologs A large bifacially worked core tool, normally oval, pointed, or pear-shaped, and one of the most typical stone tools of the Lower Palaeolithic. It is the diagnostic implement of certain Lower Palaeolithic industries (Abbevillian, Chellean, Acheulian), and one variety of the Mousterian. In spite of the name it was not an ax at all and probably served as an all-purpose tool. The oldest and crudest hand axes have been found in Africa; the finer, Acheulian, tools are known from most of Africa, Europe, southwest Asia and India. It was used for chopping, chipping, flaking, cutting, digging, and scraping. Hand axes first appear between one and two million years ago and they were common in assemblages for about a million years.