LVPL-AC4D8B: Bronze Age axe head

Rights Holder: National Museums Liverpool
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Unique ID: LVPL-AC4D8B

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

A complete cast copper alloy long flanged axehead (developed flat axe) dating from the final phase of the Early to the earliest Middle Bronze Age (c. 2000 - 1700 BC). The axehead is most probably of the axe type Arreton which is dated to Early Bronze Age III, of metalworking stage V, which corresponds to Needham's (1996) Period 3 circa 2000 - 1700 CAL BC.

The object has straight sides, a damaged butt end and a flared cutting edge with concave shoulders. The cutting edge is crescentic in plan and measures 60mm in width and is 4mm thick. The axe has a median bevel / proto stop ridge and low raised flanges. The septum between the flanges measures 12mm.

The object has a smooth mid-dark brown patina which has broken away on one edge of the butt end and one edge of the cutting edge revealing a mid-green surface.

Dimensions: 110mm in length, 13mm in width (at proto stop ridge), 20mm in width (at butt end), 3mm thick (at butt end), 15mm thick (at stop ridge), 167.9g.

The axehead is best described as coming from the Arreton type of long-flanged developed flat axes (cf Burgess and Schmidt: Axes of Northern Britain pp 65 - 75 specifically 415, 422 and 425). Burgess and Schmidt suggest from their study that the distribution of this Arreton type concentrates in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Their work though only looks directly at the axes of Scotland and Northern England. A close local parallel can be seen from a similar axe recorded from Yorkshire (LVPL-9E59450) and another from Wem (HESH-9F2990) in the County of Shropshire.

Similar examples have been found at Margam, Port Talbot (Savory 1980, No. 122) and Breach Farm, Vale of Glamorgan (Savory 1980, No. 338) associated with a cremation burial recently radiocarbon dated to c. 1750 - 1600 BC. A similar example which can be found on the database is NMGW-FDBB88.


Schmidt and Burgess (1981, p.59) trace the development of the flat axe in Britain and Ireland. They identify the trend, "...from broad, simple, triangular forms with splaying sides and flat, even slightly convex, unembelleshed faces, to increasingly narrow forms, with ever-straighter sides that diverge less and less, approaching and even attaining, the parallel sided form typical of flanged axes. The trend is towards slightly dished faces, the edges of the faces are worked up into slight flanges, and a median bevel is an increasingly common feature. Decoration...becomes a commonplace..."

Schmidt and Burgess (ibid.) explain that these developments were in part a function of changing hafting methods - the knee handle, with forked angled end required a narrower shape to fit snugly between the prongs of the fork. Furthermore, dished faces and raised edges made the seating more secure, and the median bevel reduced the tendency of the axe to be driven up into the fork, (WMID-143A14).

Find of note status

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

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: BRONZE AGE
Period from: BRONZE AGE
Period to: BRONZE AGE
Date from: Circa 2000 BC
Date to: Circa 1700 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 110 mm
Width: 13 mm
Thickness: 15 mm
Weight: 167.9 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Tuesday 30th July 2019 - Tuesday 30th July 2019

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Vanessa Oakden
Identified by: Ms Vanessa Oakden

Materials and construction

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

Spatial metadata

Region: North West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Cheshire East (Unitary Authority)
District: Cheshire East (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Macclesfield

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
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

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: LVPL
Created: 16 days ago
Updated: 15 days ago

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