Battle axehead

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from Rhynie, Aberdeenshire

Postcard of Battle axehead.
© National Museums Scotland

Battle axehead

This stone battle axehead was found Rhynie in Aberdeenshire. It dates from around 2000 to 1700 BC. Although battle axes could have been used as weapons, like recent Native American clubs, they were principally symbols of power, indicating high status.

The battle axehead has a splaying blade, pointed butt and relatively narrow shafthole. The stone head would have been fixed onto the top of an organic handle by means of its shafthole.

Battle axes were adapted from Continental Europe around the time when metallurgy was introduced to Scotland. They were originally mounted on handles. Although they could have functioned as weapons, their main purpose was to be symbols of power.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-004-789-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.AH 58 A
Date: Between 2000 and 1700 BC
Material: Stone
Dimensions: 5.38"
What: Hammer
Where: Scotland, Aberdeenshire, Rhynie
Description: Hammer of stone from Rhynie, Aberdeenshire
  • Roe, F.E.S. The Battle-Axe series in Britain. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 32 (1966), 199-245. 
  • Roe, F.E.S. Typology of stone implements with shaftholes. In: Clough, T.H.McK. and Cummins, W.A. (eds). Stone Axe Studies. London: Council for British Archaeology (Research Report 23), 1979, pp 23-48. 
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