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The Bronze Age

Axes & Maces

Stone axe Hammer, Greenhead

Period:
Bronze Age
Description:

From the collection of Dr Grierson, this is an unfinished axe hammer, almost triangular in shape. The side tapers from a rectangular shaped flattened butt to a narrow cutting edge with a grey fine grained matrix. One side has a broad groove and a slight circular indentation, the other only is slightly grooved. 

 

Axe hammers

 

The most numerically important finds, axe hammers were also primarily weapons of war. Many axe hammers have been found close to the town of Dumfries and were often made of locally available stone. As they are rarely found as part of a grave group, they are difficult to date. Axe hammers are often found in river valleys, and it has been suggested that there may be a connection between the distribution of axe hammers and the working of copper ores. Large heavy axe hammers may also have been used as agricultural tools.

 

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:
Greenhead, Dumfriesshire
Materials/Media:
stone and diorite
Dimensions:
length: 270 mm width: 105 mm depth: 65 mm
Source:
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
DUMFM:1965.361
Digital Number:
RPD0102


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