WMID-030088: Late Neolithic / Early Bronze Age Axe Hammer (base, front section, profile, top)

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
CC License:

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Unique ID: WMID-030088

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A largely complete Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age axe hammer, fabricated from an unidentified igneous rock. In plan, the axe hammer is broadly drop shaped, with a circular perforation towards the butt. The perforation has curved sides and the circumference reduces towards its centrepoint - it is hour glass shaped. The pierced sides of the axe hammer are largely flattened although there is a marked incline around the area of the socket and the butt, particularly on one side. The edge which runs around the axe hammer is concave at the butt, becoming more straight sided towards the long but narrow tip. In profile, the axe hammer expands in thickness from the tip, towards the rounded butt (which has been slightly flattened by loss of material). The tip has also suffered some loss of material. These damaged areas have a less smooth surface than the remainder of the axe hammer. The axe hammer has a maximum length of 214mm, a maximum width of 116mm towards the butt, and a maximum thikness of 88.1mm, also towards the butt. The shafthole has a maximum diameter of 61.7mm on one side, 61.4mm on the other side, and a minimum diameter of 34mm internally. In her article: “The Battle Axe Series in Britain”, Roe (1966, p.199-203) defines axe hammers as altogether larger and more crudely shaped than battle axes. In her: “Typology of Stone Implements with Shaftholes”, Roe (1979, p29) divides axe-hammers into two types – class I which are basically convex in profile, and class II which are basically concave in profile. The axe hammer recorded here is basically convex in profile and is therefore a class I type as defined by Roe. Roe notes small variation within the types (ibid p 29) but includes a subdivision based on maximum depth. The axe hammer recorded here has its greatest depth near the butt end, which Roe defines as a class 1a axe hammer. In form the axe hammer recorded here is similar to item La 41, although that example does not appear to taper from butt to blade. Dating of axe hammers is problematic. Roe (ibid. p 30) points out: “There are few associated finds for axe hammers, and they are without exception, unsatisfactory. For instance, a few are known to come from barrows, but they are old finds, and the records never make it clear whether they were in fact deposited with burials, or merely incorporated in the mound material. One therefore has to use analogies with battle axes to assess the probable chronological range of axe hammers.” Roe states that the earliest known battle axe associations are with beakers (ibid p23), with early battle axes being correlated chronologically with Beakers of the Long Necked or Southern variety and also with Food Vessels (ibid. p.23). Convex non expanded examples are likely to be early, which may have the greatest depth towards the butt end (ibid.). Based on this analogy, the axe hammer recorded here may be late Neolithic (2500BC-2100BC) to early Bronze Age (2150-1500BC).


Broad period: NEOLITHIC
Period from: NEOLITHIC
Period to: BRONZE AGE
Date from: 2500 BC
Date to: 1500 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 214 mm
Width: 116 mm
Thickness: 88.1 mm
Diameter: 61.7 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Monday 18th February 2008

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Duncan Slarke
Identified by: Mr Duncan Slarke

Materials and construction

Primary material: Stone
Manufacture method: Ground/polished
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: West Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Staffordshire (County)
District: Stafford (District)
Parish or ward: Seighford (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SJ8725
Four figure Latitude: 52.822373
Four figure longitude: -2.194356
1:25K map: SJ8725
1:10K map: SJ82NE
Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Building work
Discovery circumstances: Found in spoil (already on site from previous resident) whilst building.
General landuse: Other
Specific landuse: Built over

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

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

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