WMID-B6FD25: Roman to Modern: Iron Axe

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Unique ID: WMID-B6FD25

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

An incomplete, hand made, iron axe head, of possible Roman dating (AD 43 to AD 410).

It has a curved and flaring blade that has a triangular longitudinal section. The axe expands to the pole / shaft end, which curves downwards, is flat and rectangular in form. The eye through which the axe would have originally have been hafted is oval with an integral projecting lug at the blade end on the upper surface. Part of the cutting blade is missing, presumed lost in antiquity.

It measures 193 mm in length, 45.1 mm wide at the pole / shaft end, 37.3 mm tall at the pole / shaft end, 66.7 mm tall at the blade end. Weight can not be determined as it is too heavy for the scales.

The axe is a mid brown colour, with the surface covered with iron corrosion products (rust).

This axe is similar to that recorded on the PAS database as SF-1D7E43. That was noted as an iron axe of possible Roman date. It finds parallels in Manning's Type 4 axes (Manning, 1985: pp. 15-16, Fig. 3.4, pl. 7 nos. B5-B6) that he considers as the "Roman axe par excellence". These typically have backward sweeping blades, oval eyes and may occur with or without lugs, as on the current example. Furthermore, he notes they generally fall into two groups with a heavier axe weighing c.1.6 kg and a lighter one weighing c.0.77 kg, Interestingly, Manning notes the similarities with later Saxon Francisca axes, which probably derive from Roman examples, hinting at a possible later date for the current example. It is possible that the axe may be more recent in dating, as functional tools change very little over time, with similar styles still being in use today.

Manning, W.H. 1985. Catalogue of the Romano-British iron tools, fittings and weapons in the British Museum. British Museum Publications. London.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN
Period to: ROMAN
Date from: Circa AD 43
Date to: Circa AD 410

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 193 mm
Width: 45.1 mm
Thickness: 37.3 mm

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Teresa Gilmore
Identified by: Miss Teresa Gilmore

Materials and construction

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

Spatial metadata

Region: West Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Staffordshire (County)
District: Lichfield (District)
Parish or ward: Armitage with Handsacre (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SK0815
Four figure Latitude: 52.73258
Four figure longitude: -1.882966
1:25K map: SK0815
1:10K map: SK01NE
Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Discovery circumstances: Found whilst metal detecting

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

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

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