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The Neolithic

Domestic & Farming

Stone axehead, Watcarrick, Eskdalemuir


Large fine grained, granitic stone axehead with black grey and white crystal matrix. Found NE of Blackburn Bridge, Watcarrick, Eskdalemuir, under 4 ft of peat on W side of road while being widened.


Stone axeheads were surprisingly efficient. Fitted to a shaft of wood, antler or bone they could be used to remove the bark and phloem, which carried the nutrients of a tree, and in time it died. Large areas of forest could also be cleared by felling. Experiments in Denmark have revealed that this type of axe was most effective if swung from the elbow with short, sharp cuts. In this way three men cleared 500 square metres of silver birch forest in four hours, felling over a hundred trees!

Place of Discovery:
Watcarrick, Eskdalemuir
L 180mm, B 37mm, W 74mm
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
Digital Number:
Dumfries & Galloway Council
RCAHMS site record:
Blackburn Bridge

Clough and Cummins, T H McK and W A (1988) 'Lists of identifications', in Clough, T H McK and Cummins, W A Stone axe studies, volume 2: the petrology of prehistoric stone implements from the British Isles Council for British Archaeology research report no. 67 London
Page(s): 234, no. DMF 8

Livens, R G (1961) 'Petrology of Scottish stone implements', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol.92
Page(s): 66-7, 70, no. DUM 8

RCAHMS (1997a) Eastern Dumfriesshire: an archaeological landscape, Edinburgh
Page(s): 96, 98, 288, no. 77  Held at RCAHMS A.1.7.DUM

TDGNHAS (1953) 'Presentations', Trans Dumfriesshire Galloway Natur Hist Antiq Soc, 3rd, vol.30
Page(s): 205

Truckell, A E (1953) 'A stone axe from Watcarrick', Trans Dumfriesshire Galloway Natur Hist Antiq Soc, 3rd, vol.30
Page(s): 194

Williams, J (1970a) 'Neolithic axes in Dumfries and Galloway', Trans Dumfriesshire Galloway Natur Hist Antiq Soc, 3rd, vol.47
Page(s): 114