NMGW-A2477F: Prehistoric stone pebble hammer or mace-head

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Unique ID: NMGW-A2477F

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Perforated stone pebble, possible Prehistoric stone pebble hammer or mace-head of Mesolithic or Neolithic date

The mace-head is made on a water-rolled pebble and is complete (with a length of 126.6mm, a maximum width of 85.7mm, a maximum thickness of 33.3mm and a weight of 558.1g). The perforation is off-centre and has a pronounced hour-glass profile (with diameters at the faces of 31mm and 33mm and a minimum diameter of 9.0mm). There is evidence of pecking on the sides of the perforation, which are now well-worn, probably through subsequent water action, rather than rubbing from a haft. The central ridge of the perforation would make any hafting relatively unstable. Other than the perforation, there is no evidence of human alteration to the pebble. One of the ends is naturally flattened, while the other is more pointed, it is possible that there is some evidence of battering on the ends but subsequent water-rolling has made the battering scars inconclusive.

A visual geological examination was carried out on the perforated pebble (By Dr Jana Horak, Head of Mineralogy & Petrology; AC-NM) which concluded that the stone is a dolerite, with a likely provenance of within Pembrokeshire.

Perforated stone pebbles, often referred to as 'pebble mace-heads' have received some attention in studies on mace-heads; Roe (1968) states that battering scars are frequently observed on the implement type, which implies their use as hammers and suggests the name 'pebble-hammer'. Roe (ibid.) also notes the occurrence of the implements in Mesolithic, rather than Neolithic contexts. This perforated stone is without conclusive evidence of battering scars and the form of the perforation would also make hafting problematic. It may be suggested therefore that this perforated stone may have been utilised as a suspension weight.

1. Roe, F.S. 1968; Stone-mace-heads and the latest Neolithic cultures of the British Isles in Coles, J M & Simpson, D D A ED Leicester University Press Leicester in Studies in Ancient Europe, 1968, 145-72,

Class: stone pebble hammer or mace-head

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MESOLITHIC
Period from: MESOLITHIC
Period to: NEOLITHIC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 126.6 mm
Width: 85.7 mm
Thickness: 33.3 mm
Weight: 558.1 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Friday 10th August 2012

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Wenke Domscheit
Identified by: Mr Mark Lodwick

Other reference numbers

Other reference: NMWPA 2014.85

Materials and construction

Primary material: Stone
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: Wales (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Pembrokeshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Pembrokeshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Llanrhian (Community)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SM7931
Four figure Latitude: 51.93351375
Four figure longitude: -5.21615997
1:25K map: SM7931
1:10K map: SM73SE
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Audit data

Recording Institution: NMGW
Created: 4 years ago
Updated: 3 years ago

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