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Axe-hammer

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from Monybrie, Balmaclellan, 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 Monybrie near Balmaclellan in Kirkcudbrightshire.

The axe-hammer has been shaped by pecking with another stone. The peck-marks have not been smoothed away. The butt has batter damage for its use, and there are flakes missing from the butt and 'top'.

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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