LANCUM-2BBD52: Migdale flat axe

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Unique ID: LANCUM-2BBD52

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Copper-alloy axehead dating from the Early Bronze Age, that is c. 2200-2100BC.

The axehead survives intact and in good condition with some bronze corrosion coming through along the sides. Most of the original olive-green patina is still in place, but the surface is pitted with corrosion showing through. The axehead has curved, diverging sides with a curved, splayed cutting edge/blade. The butt is semi-circular and the the axe is lenticular in profile. The casting seams were removed and the axehead shows signs of repeated resharpening along the cutting edge (striations). It is decorated all over (except for the sides) with an untidy 'rain' pattern over both front and back.

The axehead can be identified generally as a decorated Migdale type flat axehead (Schmidt and Burgess 1981, 44-45). Early Bronze Age flat axes of type 'Migdale' (Schmidt & Burgess 1981, 35-44) belong to 'Metalworking Assemblage III', corresponding to Needham's (1996) Period 2 -3 and probably dating to c. 2200-1900BC. According to Needham's more recent publication Classification of Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age Copper and Bronze Axe-Heads, the axehead is most likely a Class 3E (Brithdir type) or possibly 3F axe, dating from the late 22nd C BC. Needham's classification is mainly based on axeheads from Southern Britain, but he makes allowances for specimens from Northern Britain (Needham 2017, 20-21) and this axe with its flat profile, diverging sides and semi-circular butt seems to fit best in his class 3E. Similar axes were found in a hoard at Colleonard Farm, Banff (Schmidt and Burgess 1981, Plate 132D)

1 Schmidt, P.K. & Burgess, C. 1981; The Axes of Scotland and Northern Ireland, Prähistorische Bronzefunde Abteilung IX, 7. Band 7

2 Needham, S. 1996; Chronology and Periodisation in the British Bronze Age , Acta Archaeologica 67, p. 121-140

3 Davis, Mary, 2016; National Museum Wales - SEM EDS analysis of a sample of the EBA flat axe: PAS 2015-29-002 & 005

4 Needham, S. 2017; The Classification of Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age Copper and Bronze Axe-Heads from Southern Britain.Archaeopress: Access Archaeology.

Class: Migdale
Sub class: Needham 2017, Class 3E

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 2200 BC
Date to: Circa 2100 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 165 mm
Width: 95 mm
Thickness: 9 mm
Weight: 468 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Monday 12th February 2018

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Dr Dot Boughton
Identified by: Dr Dot Boughton
Secondary identifier: Ms Sally Worrell

Materials and construction

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

Spatial metadata

Region: North West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Lancashire (County)
District: Lancaster (District)
To be known as: Carnforth

Spatial coordinates

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

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Character undetermined

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: LANCUM
Created: About one month ago
Updated: 15 days ago

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