HESH-BBD923: Mesolithic - Bronze Age: Macehead Pebble Hammer

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Unique ID: HESH-BBD923

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

Stone pebble hammer / macehead of probable prehistoric, specifically Mesolithic – Bronze Age, date 6500BC – 2000BC. The pebble hammer is broadly sub-rectangular in both plan and profile. The pebble is either a calcareous-sandstone or possibly a calcareous-limestone. It has been water worn – so the procurement source is presumably either riverine or possibly glacial. It is possible that the shape of the pebble has been augmented by polishing as the two sides are faceted; this is clearly different to the upper and lower faces which are both broadly naturally shaped. The central shaft hole has not been pierced / drilled through the pebble. Instead two deeply drilled holes are present on the upper and lower faces of the pebble and almost join, there is however a very small bridge between the two. If the hole was pierced through the pebble it would be hour-glass in shape. It is likely that a saw bow was used and something similar to sand was used as an abrasive. The two holes measure: 1) 26.7mm diameter and 15mm deep, and 2) 27.5mm diameter 15.3mm deep. The upper and lower edges show further evidence of alteration through pecking / or pecked carving. The two opposite ends have both suffered some impact damage and there is evidence of small scars present. These may have been caused by movement in the ploughsoil but it seems more likely that they are evidence of use. The pebble itself is odd as the outer surface (almost like a cortex) is a deep red ochre colour, where as the inner rock (which can be seen in the drilled shaft hole) is a green grey colour (which is rich in mica). This two tone affect may be due to iron stone staining in the burial environment / or whilst being washed in iron rich water / stream. The colour of the stone may have been part of the reason why it was chosen to become a tool. The pebble hammer measures 98.8mm length, is a maximum of 56.6mm wide, is 34.8mm thick and weighs 288.23 grams. The uncertain tool type and large date range is due to problems in assigning this artefact a specific class. It shares the broad attributes of both maceheads and pebble hammers. The only typology of these shaft-hole artefacts has been produced by F.E.S. Roe and his differences between artefact types seem to be a somewhat arbitrary construct. Much work needs to be done to this proposed typology before it can be fully applied to artefact types. With this in mind the type and date have been attributed here are cautious. It is most likely that this artefact belongs to the class of pebble hammer which dates to the Mesolithic period. Several other partially completed pebble hammers have been recorded with the PAS see record numbers: LEIC-F62A78, NLM-9A7147, LIN-DE2AC7, LIN-DD9004, SF-6697D5, and LVPL-964068 . It is possible that the incomplete examples may in fact be a separate sub-type of the group and be deliberate in construction rather than incomplete as previously suggested.

Class: Pebble
Sub class: Macehead

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MESOLITHIC
Period from: MESOLITHIC
Period to: BRONZE AGE
Date from: 6500 BC
Date to: 2000 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 98.8 mm
Width: 56.6 mm
Thickness: 34.8 mm
Weight: 288.23 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Peter Reavill
Identified by: Mr Peter Reavill

Materials and construction

Primary material: Sedimentary rock
Manufacture method: Multiple
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: West Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
District: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Hereford (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SO4937
Four figure Latitude: 52.029054
Four figure longitude: -2.744769
1:25K map: SO4937
1:10K map: SO43NE
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Chance find during metal detecting
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: HESH
Created: 11 years ago
Updated: 8 years ago

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