WILT-2EA613: Middle Bronze Age Palstave

Rights Holder: Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
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Unique ID: WILT-2EA613

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

An incomplete Middle Bronze Age low-flanged, broad-bladed shield-pattern Early unlooped palstave axehead, with recent-ish damage to the butt end. It measures 141.45mm in length and weighs in excess of 300g (limit of FLO scales). At its thickest it measures 30.12mm (across the flanges) and it is widest at the cutting edge, 63.03mm.

The blade is roughly triangular in shape but heavily splayed at the very-curved cutting edge, which is slightly more expanded to one side than to the other and gives a slight impression of lop-sidedness. Below the stop ridge, it measures 22.52mm which expands to 39.21mm before the edge is hammered out to the max.width of 63.03mm. The shield decoration is below the stop ridge and hollowed with traces of black (possibly organic?) material on both faces. To the sides of the axehead at this point is a c.7mm transverse rib or hip.

The butt end is damaged but one original corner remains. The length from here to the stop ridge is c.60mm. It is max.c.11mm deep (at the thickest point) and 25.71mm wide. The stop ridge is curved on the butt-side on both faces of the axe.

The upper half of the sides of the butt end have possible decoration in the form of numerous tiny pairs of punches, some in an obvious V shape. There is an obvious crack across the shield decoration on one face and on the other face below the shield decoration signs of stress or hammering. There is also a crack along the join on the lower half of the axe on both sides.

Early palstaves date to Needham's Period 5 - most probably Acton Park II (industry) phase - Metalworking stage VIII, 1500-1300 BC. Shield pattern palstaves belong in Group 1 and have a shield-like decoration below the stop ridge and variable flanges.

Find of note status

This has been noted as an interesting find by the recorder.

Class: Low-flanged
Sub class: Shield-patterned

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod from: Middle
Period from: BRONZE AGE
Date from: Circa 1500 BC
Date to: Circa 1300 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 141.45 mm
Width: 63.03 mm
Thickness: 30.12 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 27th October 2011 - Thursday 26th January 2012

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Katie Hinds
Identified by: Ms Katie Hinds

Other reference numbers

Other reference: Salisbury Museum Entry Form No. 3793

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Pewsey

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Operations to a depth less than 0.25 m

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: WILT
Created: 6 years ago
Updated: 6 years ago

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