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Axe-hammer

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from Carlingwark Loch, Kirkcudbrightshire

Axe-hammer
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Axe-hammers are heavy-duty stone tools, ranging in length from 150 to 350 mm. They have shaftholes for a wooden handle. They could have been used as massive wedges, and they probably date to between 2100 and 1400 BC. This example was found at Carlingwark Loch in Kirkcudbrightshire.

Made from a large cobble, this axe-hammer has a bluntish blade at one end, a curving butt, flattish upper and lower surfaces and a shafthole bored through them near the butt end.

The function of axe-hammers has been debated. Traces of use suggest that the butt end was struck and the blade end pushed through a resistant material. The narrow handle would have been too weak to act like an axe handle, so may have been for steadying the tool in position. Use as a heavy-duty wedge seems the most likely. There are unexplained concentrations of axe-hammers in south-west Scotland and north-west England.

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