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29 September 2008
Ancient axe heads donated to Manx Museum

Artefacts believed to be 4,000-years-old discovered at Isle of Man Transport Minister David Anderson's farm in Patrick have been donated to the national museum collection. The two copper axeheads and a blade were unearthed by a metal detector enthusiast Rob Middleton in a field at Ballamoar earlier this year.  They date from the early Bronze Age (2500 2150 BCE).
     Mr Anderson has now donated the items to Manx National Heritage, whose experts will carry out further research on them before they are permanently displayed in the prehistoric gallery at the Manx Museum, Douglas.  Finder of the axeheads, Rob Middleton, said: "I was very excited when I discovered them, as I've spent many years searching for Bronze Age material. They were discovered over a period of four months and spread over a large area of ground. Searching last winter was extremely difficult due to wet conditions."
     Allison Fox, curator of archaeology for MNH said: "When Mr Middleton discovered the artefacts, he was very careful not to clean them, or even wipe the surface soil away, which was exactly the right thing to do. The soil surrounding artefacts can often hold as much information as the artefacts themselves and acts as a protective layer for the surface of the object. Due to his care, the possibilities for further research are good, enabling us to find out a little more about the point in time when the Isle of Man left the Stone Age and embraced the new technology of metal-working."
     Bronze Age metal artefacts are relatively uncommon in the Isle of Man and only three or four such early pieces of metal have so far been found. These pieces contained traces of copper from Ireland and Wales, which could be the source of the copper in the newly-discovered axeheads. However, intriguingly, there is evidence to support the theory that copper deposits at Bradda Head and Langness may have been mined in prehistory, so perhaps these axeheads were of truly Manx origin.

Source: IOMtoday.co.im (23 September 2008)

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