FAKL-38D115: Socketed axe, iron

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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Unique ID: FAKL-38D115

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Socketed axe of bronze type but made from wrought iron. Loop on one side of axe, slightly angled. Blade expanded, curved cutting edge 65.5mm wide, length 110.0mm, thickness (maximum) 40.8mm. Mouth oval and flared from the body of the axe, socket shallow in comparison to those seen on bronze axe, depth 50.0mm. Unlike a bronze axe the bottom of the socket is marked by a change in section, the blade being thinner below the socket. The side of the axe bearing the loop is curved while the back is straight. Now heavily coated in lacquer but appears stable.


These object is one of a small number of socketed axes made from wrought iron. While the form is relatively easy to cast in a two part mould and a clay/sand core to from its hollow socket it would be very difficult to produce as a forging. Iron socketed axes were rapidly replaced by axes in which the haft passes through an eye, the type that remains in use today. This axe must, therefore, represent the transition from bronze to iron. Parallels exist for iron socketed axes with examples from Walthamstow, Essex (Smith 1925, Fig. 82) and Cold Kitchen Hill, Wilts (Cunliffe 1975, p 268, Fig. 14:2 5) neither of which is quite like this find although the latter appears to share the curved loop side and straight back seen on the Middleham axe. A better parallel was found during excavations at Fiskerton, Lincolnshire.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: National importance

Class: Iron

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: IRON AGE
Subperiod from: Late
Period from: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod to: Early
Period to: IRON AGE
Date from: Circa 800 BC
Date to: Circa 600 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 110 mm
Width: 65.5 mm
Thickness: 40.8 mm
Weight: 370.9 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Dr Kevin Leahy
Identified by: Dr Kevin Leahy

Materials and construction

Primary material: Iron
Manufacture method: Hand made
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: Yorkshire and the Humber (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: North Yorkshire (County)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SE1188
Four figure Latitude: 54.28751
Four figure longitude: -1.83253
1:25K map: SE1188
1:10K map: SE18NW
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: FAKL
Created: 7 years ago
Updated: 6 years ago

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