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The Bronze Age

Axes & Maces

Battle Axe, Castledykes

Period:
Bronze Age
Description:

A long axe hammer with an off centre shaft hole, rounded butt tapers to a pointed polished blade. This axe has been re-constructed from three broken fragments. The small size and high polished finish of this axe suggests that it was used for ceremonial purposes.

 

Battle axes, mace heads and axe hammers

 

Battle axes were designed as weapons of war, with a cutting edge at one end, a hammer at the other and a central hourglass shaft hole for hafting. They are associated with the Beaker people and are sometimes found with burial urns. They are relatively uncommon in south west Scotland, perhaps because the high and difficult terrain deterred conflict.

 

Producing tools like these took time. After selecting an appropriate rock, a hammer was used to create the rough shape. The Bronze Age stone mason would have continued pecking at the rock, using smaller and finer tools as the work progressed. The shaft hole would have been made by drilling from both sides, perhaps with a section of antler or bone in a bow drill.

 

Many of these implements have a polished surface, which was achieved by rubbing on a wetted stone slab, perhaps using sand as an abrasive.

Place of Discovery:
Castledykes, Dumfries
Materials/Media:
Stone
Dimensions:
length: 105 mm width: 45 mm depth: 40 mm
Source:
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
DUMFM:1946.2.1
Digital Number:
RPD0108