Axehead from Cunzierton, Roxburghshire

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Postcard of Axehead from Cunzierton, Roxburghshire.
© National Museums Scotland

Axehead from Cunzierton, Roxburghshire

This stone axehead, made of alpine jadeite, was found at Cunzierton in Roxburghshire. It was imported from the Piedmont area, around the Swiss-French-Italian border, sometime between 3800 and 3000 BC.

The thin, flat axehead has a curved cutting edge. The butt tapers to a point and the edges form a rounded ridge. The axehead has been highly polished to give a shiny surface. It is unused, and was clearly valued as a status symbol, not for everyday use.

Some axeheads were symbols of power and prestige, probably with religious significance as well. They were often used in gift exchanges and, like this one, could travel over large distances. This axehead may have arrived in Scotland via the Rhineland.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-136-599-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0035: Early Scottish Shelter - Life in the Prehistoric Home (multimedia essay)
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.AF 589
Date: Between 3800 and 3000 BC
Material: Jadeite; polished
Dimensions: 7.50" x 3.70" x 0.50"
What: Axe
Who: Archibald Stavert (Object presented in his memory)
Where: Scotland, Roxburghshire, Oxnam, Cunzierton
Description: Axe head of polished Alpine jadeite, from Cunzierton, Roxburghshire
  • Clarke, D.V., Cowie, T.G., & Foxon, Andrew (eds). Symbols of power at the time of Stonehenge. Edinburgh: National Museums of Antiquities of Scotland, 1985, pp 58-62, 251-2. 
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