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Unique ID: DUR-FE8A86

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

A copper alloy Middle Bronze Age unlooped palstave axehead (c.1500-c.1300 BC).

The axe is sub-triangular in plan and sub-rectangular in section, tapering to the blade terminal. The blade is narrow tapering and the axe is narrow and unlooped. The blade is flared and the surface is smooth, bevelled and sharpened. The butt is broken and the patination suggests that it was broken in antiquity. The axe has a well-defined stop-ridge on both sides rising at right angles to the septum. The septum is H-shaped in section and is smooth, unworn and slightly concave. At the end of the septum is a moulded shield-shaped stop-ridge set transversely across the body. The patination is a mid-green with areas of dark grey patination on both faces of the septum. The length is 100.22mm, the width is at the blade is 37.16mm and at the butt is 21.94mm. Its thickness is 6.62mm at the blade, 11.30mm at the butt and 19.66mm at the stop ridge. It weighs 166.2g.

The palstave shares typological features with Group I and Group II palstaves, the primary forms introduced to Britain in the Middle Bronze Age (Schmidt and Burgess 1981). As there are no side loops or midrib, this palstave may be relatively early, probably a Group I (shield-pattern) type from the Acton Park phase of Bronze Age metalwork, c1450-1300BC. It can be distinguished by its shield-shaped decoration below the stop ridge (p.119).

Schmidt and Burgess tell us that the term 'palstave' is misleading, as it comes from the Icelandic 'Paalstab' meaning a digging tool, not a type of axe. The term is used in British archaeology to describe an axe where there is a stop and the flanges disappear into the stop. Palstaves are also thicker below the stop. They are usually decorated on the blade and, as time went on, developed loops. Group I palstaves have a shield-like decoration below the stop ridge and variable flanges.

The concentration of palstaves in the North West of England is explained by the proximity to the Acton Park province, the major production area in north Wales and the Marches.

Similar objects can be found on the database at LVPL-3EFEA7 and LVPL-84EBD1.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


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

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 100.22 mm
Width: 37.16 mm
Thickness: 19.66 mm
Weight: 166.2 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 29th June 2017

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mrs Ann Lipscombe
Identified by: Mrs Ann Lipscombe

Materials and construction

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

Spatial metadata

Region: North West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Cumbria (County)
District: South Lakeland (District)
Parish or ward: Burneside (District Ward)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SD5195
Four figure Latitude: 54.34817451
Four figure longitude: -2.75531965
1:25K map: SD5195
1:10K map: SD59NW
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Minimal cultivation

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: DUR
Created: About one year ago
Updated: About one year ago

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