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Old 27th November 2023, 04:01 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2023
Posts: 1
Default New member: help required – unusual ceremonial or battle axe?

Thanks very much for letting me join this forum. I have tried everything I can think of to try and identify and date this unusual axe without success and am hoping that someone on this forum will be able to help.

The axe weighs approximately 500 g and is 160 mm long.

It was found whilst metal detecting, buried, spike uppermost, approximately 1 metre deep in clay in rural countryside, Oxfordshire, UK. There are no modern buildings or footpaths nearby and no significant features marked on maps dating back to the 1800’s. My colleague and I have found evidence (artefacts) of a Medieval and Roman buildings in a field several hundred yards away and have found Roman, Saxon and Medieval artefacts in the same field as the axe. About 0.5 Km away a few Bronze Age and Viking artefacts have been found.

The LIDAR scans of the area where the axe was found show some sort of enclosure with two large, circular pits present on the boundary (image 4) and the axe was found within the area of one of these pits (blue dot on image 5).
I found a study of the ornamentation and dating of Bronze Age axes by Wolfgang David that showed a series of axes of evolving types and my axe seemed to be a hybrid between Type A1 which had a broad blade but no head spike, and Type B3b which has the spike but is more chisel-like. However, I was fortunate enough to be given permission to closely examine some Bronze Age axes in the Ashmolean Museum collection in Oxford that fall into the previously-categorised axe types and the colouration of my axe is very different. This may be due simply to the fact that the axe was found in anoxic clay or it may be that I’m wrong in thinking it’s Bronze Age and it may be much later.

Any help that members can give me would be much appreciated as this seems to be a very interesting and possibly unique artefact and I am keen to know more about it.

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DD1957 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th November 2023, 05:10 PM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Scotland
Posts: 325

Hi Dave and welcome to the forum.

Sorry I can't help with any information but it is an amazing find - congrats.
The fact that it was buried that deep and at a known location gives the axe good provenance, which is often lacking in these artifacts.

A quick google search shows a wide range of conditions for bronze artefacts and like you suggest, the amount of deterioration must depend greatly on the buried environment.

Please let us know if you find out more about the axe.
CutlassCollector is offline   Reply With Quote

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