LANCUM-35CCF6: Stone axe hammer

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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Unique ID: LANCUM-35CCF6

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A complete Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age axe hammer dating from c. 2500-1500BC. The axe hammer was 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. 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 225mm, a maximum width of 115.1mm towards the butt, and a maximum thikness of 56.5mm, also towards the butt. The shafthole has an average iameter of 30mm 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.

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).

IMAGE: please note: 1cm (image) = 2cm (real life)

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod from: Early
Period from: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod to: Early
Period to: BRONZE AGE
Date from: Circa 2500 BC
Date to: Circa 1500 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 225 mm
Width: 115.1 mm
Thickness: 56.5 mm
Diameter: 30 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Tuesday 1st March 2011

Personal details

Recorded by: Dr Dot Boughton
Identified by: Dr Dot Boughton
Secondary identifier: Mr Duncan Slarke

Materials and construction

Primary material: Stone
Manufacture method: Knapped/flaked
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: North West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Cumbria (County)
District: Allerdale (District)
To be known as: Greysouthen

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: Centred on village (which isn't a parish)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Other chance find
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Character undetermined

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: LANCUM
Created: 8 years ago
Updated: 4 years ago

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