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The Bronze Age

Axes & Maces

Mace Head, Morrington Quarry, Dunscore

Period:
Bronze Age
Description:

This mace head was discovered after blasting operations at a quarry in 1926. It may have been used for ceremonial purposes as it shows no evidence of use, is highly polished, and is made from an attractive granite stone. The head is ovoid and has an off centre shaft hole, with a rounded butt and blade. This specimen is composed of alternating bands of light and darker crystal.

 

Mace Head

 

Mace heads were designed to give a crushing blow in battle. Most mace heads from this area have a rounded outline with a straight sided shaft hole for hafting. It is possible that the technique of boring shaft holes through stone was learned from the makers of battle axes. They are also often associated with burials.

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:
Mornington quarry, Dunscore
Dimensions:
length: 90 mm width: 40 mm depth: 33 mm
Source:
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
DUMFM:1934.38
Digital Number:
RPD0106