Axeheads of stone

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From Longniddry, East Lothian; Portpatrick, Wigtownshire; Chapelton, Ayrshire

Postcard of Axeheads of stone.
© National Museums Scotland

Axeheads of stone

These three stone battle axeheads were found at Longniddry in East Lothian, at Portpatrick in Wigtownshire and at Chapelton in Ayrshire. Although they could have functioned as weapons, their main purpose was to be symbols of power.

The Portpatrick and Longniddry axeheads are polished, the latter also decorated with broad grooves along the long surfaces. The Chapelton axehead is decorated with three narrow grooves. All were originally mounted on handles.

Battle axes were adopted from Continental Europe around the time when metallurgy was introduced to Scotland. Although they could have been used as weapons, their principal role was as fashionable prestige objects, or symbols of power.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-033-045-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.EQ 65
Date: Between 2200 and 1500 BC
Material: Granite; perforated; band of three incised lines on each side
Greenstone; finely formed; with expanding cutting edge
Serpentine; oval, wedge-shaped
Dimensions: 4.50" x 2.50"
4.75" x 2.25"
7.00" L
What: Axe, battle
Axe, battle
Axe, battle
Where: Scotland, Ayrshire, Ardrossan, Chapelton
Scotland, East Lothian, Longniddry
Scotland, Wigtownshire, Portpatrick
Description: Battle-axe of serpentine from Portpatrick, Wigtownshire
Finely formed greenstone battle-axe with expanding cutting edge, from Longniddry, East Lothian
Perforated granite battle-axe with a band of three incised lines on each side, found in a cinerary urn with calcined bones at Chapelton, Ardrossan, Ayrshire
  • 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 272-3. 
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