DUR-5FB597: DUR-5FB597

Rights Holder: Durham County Council
CC License:

Rights Holder: Durham County Council
CC License:

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Unique ID: DUR-5FB597

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

A complete, cast, copper-alloy miniature socketed axehead dating to the late Iron Age or early Roman periods, c. 200 BC-AD 100.

The axe is in the shape of a Late Bronze Age socketed axe, with a moulded socket collar, a wide body and widely splayed blade. The blade is asymmetric. At the top of the axe head, towards the socket, is a projecting circular loop that may be a suspension ring. Preserved in fair condition despite being somewhat encrusted, the axehead  measures 23.87mm in length, 6.91mm wide at the socket by 3.60mm thick, 5.86mm wide by 1.90mm thick at its midpoint and 13.88mm wide where the blade splays out to its widest point. It weighs 2.2g.

This miniature axe was possibly votive in function and perhaps utilised as a pendant or amulet

According to record SF-07E34B on this database “Miniature socketed axes such as this example are unique to Britain, being found in mainly Roman contexts. However, a smattering of examples discovered within securely Iron Age deposits suggests they have an early origin and may have been retained as 'heirloom' amuletic items. Study by Robinson and Farley (1995, 2011) has found that they are frequently discovered in association with temple/shrine sites and rural religious locales.”

Similar miniature objects can be found at YORYM-7DA2C1 and NCL-346DE5 on this database.

Ref:  Allason-Jones, L: Artefacts in Roman Britain, 2011, Cambridge UP, p 288-289



Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: County / local importance

Class: Axehead
Sub class: Socketed

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: IRON AGE
Subperiod from: Middle
Period from: IRON AGE
Period to: ROMAN
Date from: Circa 200 BC
Date to: Circa AD 100

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 23.87 mm
Thickness: 1.9 mm
Weight: 2.2 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Monday 9th December 2019 - Monday 9th December 2019

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

Other reference: R501

Materials and construction

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

Spatial metadata

Region: Yorkshire and the Humber (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)
District: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Boynton (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TA1468
Four figure Latitude: 54.09528174
Four figure longitude: -0.25833633
1:25K map: TA1468
1:10K map: TA16NW
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

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

References cited

Author Publication Year Title Publication Place Publisher Pages Reference
Allason-Jones, L. 2011 Artefacts in Roman Britain: Their Purpose and Use Cambridge Cambridge University Press 288
Robinson, P. 1995 Miniature socketed bronze axes from Wiltshire Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: DUR
Created: 2 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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