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from Bell's Mill, Dean, Edinburgh

Postcard of Axehead.
© National Museums Scotland


This bronze axehead is from a hoard of five found in the water of Leith near Bell's Mill at Dean in Edinburgh. The hoard was buried between 950 and 750 BC.

The socketed axehead has a long octagonal body decorated with parallel lines. Unlike many socketed axeheads, it does not have a loop which helped tie the axehead to the wooden handle. The handle would have fitted into the axehead's socket.

Axeheads were symbols of power and prestige for a long period, probably with religious significance as well. They were sometimes buried or deposited in watery places as offerings to the gods.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-082-618-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 18
Date: Between 950 and 750 BC
Material: Bronze; ornamented with parallel lines; without loop
Dimensions: 5.00" x 2.13"
What: Axe, socketed
Where: Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh, Dean, Bell's Mills
Description: Bronze socketed axe ornamented with parallel lines, without loop, from Bell's Mills, Dean, Edinburgh
  • Coles, John M. Scottish late Bronze Age metalwork: typology, distributions and chronology. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 93 (1959-1960), pp 16-134, esp. pp 116-7. 
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