Fragments of a mould, and an axe

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From Jarlshof, Shetland and Struthers House, Fife

Postcard of Fragments of a mould, and an axe.
© National Museums Scotland

Fragments of a mould, and an axe

These fragments of a clay mould for casting a bronze axe were found at Jarlshof in Shetland. The bronze axe, of a type similar to that which the mould produced, was found at Struthers House in Fife. They date from between 950 and 750 BC.

Fragments of each half (or valve) of a two-piece mould survive. They were secured together and molten metal poured into the channel at the top. The resulting axe had a small loop near its socket, as does the pictured axe from Fife.

Excavations at Jarlshof have revealed evidence of bronze-working. A smith, trained in the Irish tradition of bronze-working, built a large hearth in the centre of a house and set up a workshop. Finds include awls, chisels, clay moulds, crucibles and slag.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-043-051-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.DE 20
Date: 950 - 750 BC
Between 950 and 750 BC
Material: Bronze
Parts of two valves of the same mould; one part lacks only the lower edge and part of the top edge; the other lacks upper part
Dimensions: 3.75" x 2.50"
4.70" x 2.65" / 4.00" L
What: Axe, socketed
Where: Scotland, Fife, Struthers House
Scotland, Shetland, Sumburgh, Jarlshof
Description: Parts of two valves of a mould for a socketed axe, from Jarlshof
Bronze socketed axe from near Struthers House, Fife, 950 - 750 BC
  • Turner, Val. Ancient Shetland. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd, 1998, pp 59-60. 
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