|17 January 2004
Bronze Age axe too heavy to use
A Bronze Age axe head unearthed in a Lincolnshire (England) field is baffling archaeologists - because they think it is too heavy to use. Made of stone, the axe head weighs 4.4lb and was produced some time between 2000 BCE and 1600 BCE. It was found when a walker stumbled across it last summer in a farmer's field near Scotter, north of Gainsborough. Once the axe head was cleaned it was reported to the portable antiquities scheme project run by North Lincolnshire Council.
The artefact is a traditional axe shape and features a hole through the middle where a stick would have been placed as a handle and archaeologists often refer to these items as axe hammers. But principal keeper of archaeology Kevin Leahy said the artefact would have been hard to use. "This is a big ugly perforated object which looks like an axe head but appears too heavy to use," he said. "Unfortunately we do not know precisely what its function was. Because of its shape it could have been a tool or a weapon, but the object is so weighty that it would be difficult to use."
Mr Leahy thinks the axe head could have been used as a plough. "None of the edges have a particularly cutting feel," he said. "But it is possible the artefact could have been used as a hand-held plough. However, unlike other similar finds, which we believe to be ploughs, the stone shows no obvious signs of wear, such as scratch marks."
The axe head is made from either igneous or metamorphic rock and has been continually chipped to form its shape. This type of rock is not found in Lincolnshire but the stone could have been transported from Northumbria by traders or brought down in the Ice Age and been deposited locally. It is around 21cm long, 8cm wide and 11cm thick.
Source: Lincolnshire Echo (14 January 2004)
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