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from Kiloran Bay, Colonsay, Inner Hebrides

Postcard of Axehead.
© National Museums Scotland


This iron axehead was found in a man's grave at Kiloran Bay on Colonsay in the Inner Hebrides. He was buried in a boat between 875 and 925 with a range of Scandinavian weapons, tools and a pin, together with his horse.

The axehead is a Scandinavian type commonly found in Viking graves in western Europe. It is corroded and in two main pieces.

Viking Age axes appear in a number of forms. Some were used as tools, others as weapons. Often it is difficult to distinguish which function was intended, especially since a range of tools was often included in Viking warriors' graves.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-099-685-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0036: Kiloran Bay Viking Burial (multimedia essay)
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.IL 762
Date: 9th century
9th century
Between 875 and 925
Material: Iron
Iron; in three pieces
What: Axe head / fragment
Shield boss / fragment
Where: Scotland, Argyll, Colonsay, Kiloran Bay
Scotland, Argyll, Colonsay, Kiloran Bay
Description: Two pieces of iron axe head from a Viking grave found at Kiloran Bay, Colonsay, Argyll, 9th century
Iron shield boss, of conical form, in three pieces from a Viking grave found at Kiloran Bay, Colonsay, Argyll, 9th century
  • Graham-Campbell, James and Batey, Colleen E. Vikings in Scotland. An Archaeological Survey. Edinburgh: University Press, 1998, pp 118-22. 
  • Grieg, Sigurd. Viking Antiquities in Scotland (=Viking Antiquities in Great Britain and Ireland, Part II, ed. by Haakon Shetelig). Oslo: H. Aschehoug & Co., 1940, pp 48-61, esp. p 50. 
  • Ritchie, Anna. Viking Scotland London: B.T. Batsford Ltd/Historic Scotland, 1993, pp 79-84.
    Find in NLS: Title, Author, Title+Author or British Library: Title, Author, Title+Author
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