HESH-F68E44: Neolithic: Incomplete polished axehead

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
CC License:


Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
CC License:

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
CC License:

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
CC License:

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AXE

Unique ID: HESH-F68E44

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

A large fragment from a knapped, ground and polished stone axehead of later Neolithic date (2900-2100 BC). The axe is knapped from a dark grey black volcanic tuff. This rock type is formed from compressed volcanic ash and has a fine grained composition; there are no signs of inclusions within the exposed fresh surface, but the axe is very heavy for its size possibly suggesting large iron content. The broken edge is a much lighter colour to the polished surfaces. Tuff is found in Britain and Ireland in a band that runs down the Irish Sea from the Lake District (the Langdale's source Group VI), County Antrim (Ireland), through North Wales (Graig Lwyd Group VII), and into Cornwall and Devon (Groups XVI and IV respectively). Volcanic tuff is similar to flint in that it can be finely worked, ground and polished to form a variety of tools; however axes are the most common find type and were used across Northern Europe during the Neolithic period. The colour of this axe suggests a relatively uncommon source, possibly from Northern Ireland or South West Britain.

The axe head is broadly sub-rectangular in plan and sub-oval (humped) in cross section. In plan the sides of the axe taper from the widest point at the cutting edge to the broken edge. Approximately 75% of the axe survives with the butt being lost. Both long edges taper evenly and the axe is broadly symmetrical. The sides of the axe have clear well defined side facets which extend from the cutting edge to the broken edge. The cutting edge is well preserved; the blade curves gently and is broadly crescentic shaped. The blade facets on the upper and lower faces are clearly identifiable. Both faces exhibit shallow patinated scratches which are mostly likely relics from the polishing action. These scratches are in two different directions, those on the body and sides of the axe are longitudinal / in line with the body of the axe. Whereas those scratches on the two cutting faces / blade facets are diagonal, or slightly circular where the axe has been ground / sharpened using a circular motion.

Some areas of damage are as a result of modern plough damage; the largest of these is seen in the lateral break which removes the butt of the axe. This fracture is slightly stepped. The fracture is across the central 'hump' and there is some additional scratching which is patinated possibly being associated with a deliberate attempt to roughen the surface of the axe in the Neolithic to provide a better grip for the hafting of the axe. This has been observed on other axes

The axe measures 89.9mm length, 58.2mm width (at cutting edge), and is 30.5mm thick (across the hump). It weighs 247.23 grams

Axes mean more to Neolithic society than just being a useful tool; they would have had various other functions and shown the wealth, power and importance of the owner. It is likely they were passed down through families and generations and were often deposited in special, meaningful and significant ways. The discovery and recording of this fine example is an important addition both locally and also from a regional perspective.

Class: Polished

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Donated to a museum

Chronology

Broad period: NEOLITHIC
Period from: NEOLITHIC
Date from: Circa 2900 BC
Date to: Circa 1800 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 88.9 mm
Width: 58.2 mm
Thickness: 30.5 mm
Weight: 247.23 g

Personal details

Recorded by: Mr Peter Reavill
Identified by: Mr Peter Reavill

Other reference numbers

Other reference: HFD Entry Form No: HFDMG 3337

Materials and construction

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

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: Eardisley (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SO3051
Four figure Latitude: 52.152825
Four figure longitude: -3.024544
1:25K map: SO3051
1:10K map: SO35SW
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
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: HESH
Created: 7 years ago
Updated: 7 years ago

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