SOM-63A847: Late Bronze Age Taunton-Hademarschen sovketed axehead

Rights Holder: Somerset County Council
CC License:

Rights Holder: Somerset County Council
CC License:

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Unique ID: SOM-63A847

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

Late Bronze Age socketed axe head, a variant of the Taunton-Hademarschen type with oval rather than square mouth. The axe is relatively long and narrow compared to more common forms of socketed axe. the surface is badly corroded with the original surface only surviving in a few areas. The mouth of the socket is oval and adjacent to the mouth is a shallow rounded moulding 16.2mm wide reinforcing this end. This moulding appears to be single but a slight double moulding cannot be ruled out due to the corrosion. It is 26.6mm by 20.4mm just below this swelling. The axe then tapers evenly blade becoming slightly narrower and a lot thinner and also sub-rectangular as it does so with distinct flatter sides and rounded corners towards the blade where it is 23.7mm by 9.7mm. The blade flares out to 29.4mm wide with a convex curved, crescentic outer edge the outer corners of which are missing to corrosion. The blade is 14.8mm wide. There is an effect of a slight carination on one side but this may be created by the survival of some of the original surface at this point.

There is no evidence of a side loop but this could be masked by the corrosion as none of the original surface survives in the area where a loop would be expected.The mouth is covered by iron pan build up so no measurements could be made of the socket. It is 104.8mm long in total, 30.3mm by 24.6mm at the widest point, the swelling, and weighs 143 grams.

This is a variant of the Taunton-Hademarschen type dated to the Ewart Park phase (1000-800BC). These relatively rare, characteristically long thin axes typically have a more rectangular or square socket compared to the definite oval on this example. See Needham et al, Archaeological Journal 154, 1997, 87, fig 18,5 and a the corroded example from Norton Fitzwarren Needham, Somerset Archaeology & Natural History 133, 1989, 37-8, fig 17,11, LVPL-503653 and 2003 T392 for more typical square socketed forms. A more oval mouth is seen on some examples including one from a hoard in St Arvans, Monmouthshire (Savory 1980:189, 1) which has a double rather than single moulding at the mouth.

Although the axe was found in what is now dry cultivated land the stopping of the mouth with iron pan suggested it had been submerged in water for some time at some point for the iron pan to accumulate. Bronze Age metal work was often deliberately deposited in watery contexts. Therefore the axe was x-rayed by the National Museums and Galleries Wales to see if anything remained behind the iron pan. This showed that some of the wood of the handle still survives in the socket, preserved behind the iron pan. This suggests the axe was deposited in a watery context originally although is now on dry land. Analysis was also carried out showing the axe is made of a leaded bronze with probably slightly less lead than average for the Late Bronze Age. The area this axe came from is very level with many drainage ditches and streams and, dispite modern agricultual drainage work, still suffers from occasional flooding.


Thanks are due to Mark Lodwick for arranging the X-ray and analysis and to Brendan O'Connor for commenting on this axe.

Find of note status

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

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod from: Late
Period from: BRONZE AGE
Date from: Circa 1000 BC
Date to: Circa 800 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 104.8 mm
Width: 30.3 mm
Thickness: 24.6 mm
Weight: 143 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Tuesday 25th October 2011

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Laura Burnett
Identified by: Ms Laura Burnett
Secondary identifier: Mr Frank Basford

Other reference numbers

Other reference: SCC reciept 20876

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Somerset (County)
District: West Somerset (District)
To be known as: Holford

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SOM
Created: 7 years ago
Updated: 4 years ago

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