HESH-A05816: Early Bronze Age / Chalcolithic: Axe / Knife Blank

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
CC License:

Image use policy

Our images can be used under a CC BY attribution licence (unless stated otherwise).


Unique ID: HESH-A05816

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A cast copper alloy axe or knife blank / ingot of Chalcolithic / Early Bronze Age date (2450 - 2300 BC). The blank is oval in shape with the butt being rounded narrowed and tapered. In profile it is lentoid in shape and its cross section is a similar lentoid shape. The 'cutting' edge is rounded, from the external edges it tapers gradually until it forms a narrowed but rounded but. There is no sign of a stop ridge or any form of cast design. It is thickest at the mid-point. The surface of the blank is heavily eroded and corroded, small areas of original patinated surface survive but on the whole the surface is pitted and corroded with an eroded surface. It is a dark - mid green colour.

The metallic composition of the knife has been analysed by Dr Eleanor Blakelock, Birmingham Museums Trust. Her report is produced below:

X-ray florescence analysis was undertaken on the surface of the objects using a Bruker M1 Mistral desktop XRF in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery conservation laboratory. The results suggests that the axe blank is a copper rich alloy with trace elements of arsenic, antinomy, lead and silver. This composition is typical for an Early Bronze Age date. The analysis however was carried out on the surface of the corroded object therefore the results may not be entirely representative of the core alloy of the dagger/knife.

The form of this blank is similar to a number that Dr Stuart Needham has highlighted in his work on the Early Bronze Age metalwork from the Welsh Marches. Dr Needham was kind enough to examine this artefact and confirmed that he felt it was an unfinished or unworked blank because a) the profiles were unsymmetrical and b) the unrefined shape in plan being sub-trapezoidal or oval in shape c) the xrf results indicate an alloy of early composition.

The axe-blank measures 77.6mm in length, 35.9mm width, and is 5.5mm thick. It weighs 59.87 grams.

Find of note status

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

Class: Blank

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod from: Early
Period from: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod to: Early
Period to: BRONZE AGE
Date from: Circa 2500 BC
Date to: Circa 2250 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 77.6 mm
Width: 35.9 mm
Thickness: 5.5 mm
Weight: 59.87 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Peter Reavill
Identified by: Mr Peter Reavill
Secondary identifier:

Other reference numbers

Other reference: Shropshire Museum Service; Object Entry Form: E. 00677

Materials and construction

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

Spatial metadata

County or Unitary authority: Telford and Wrekin (Unitary Authority)
District: Telford and Wrekin (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Wenlock

Spatial coordinates

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

Discovery metadata

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

Similar objects

Find number: HESH-7C7854
Object type: KNIFE
Broadperiod: BRONZE AGE
A cast copper tanged knife of Chalcolithic / Early Bronze Age date (2450 - 2300 BC). The knife is near complete with the tang and most of the…
Workflow: PublishedFind published

Find number: WMID-2260B2
Object type: FLAT AXEHEAD
Broadperiod: BRONZE AGE
A complete flat axehead with a crescentic blade, of Early Bronze Age dating (c. 1875 BC to c. 1725 BC). The axehead has a rectangular shap…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind awaiting validation

Find number: PUBLIC-905653
Object type: FLAT AXEHEAD
Broadperiod: BRONZE AGE
Cast bronze (copper alloy) flat axe of early Bronze Age date (2000-1700BC). The axe is complete with very little wear. In plan the axe is bro…
Workflow: PublishedFind published

Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: HESH
Created: 5 months ago
Updated: 3 months ago

Other formats: this page is available as qrcode json xml geojson pdf rdf representations.