Axeheads of bronze

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from Hill of Fortrie, Balnoon, Inverkeithing, Fife; Banffshire; Glenforsa, Mull, Inner Hebrides; Bracobrae, Moray

Postcard of Axeheads of bronze.
© National Museums Scotland

Axeheads of bronze

These four bronze axeheads were found at Hill of Fortrie at Balnoon at Inverkeithing in Fife, at Banffshire, at Glenforsa on Mull in the Inner Hebrides and at Bracobrae in Moray. Three of them display special treatment, making them especially prestigious.

The Hill of Fortrie axehead, which is broken, was tinned to give it a silvery appearance. The Banffshire axehead is decorated, while that from Lawhead is outstanding because of its massive size. The Bracobrae axe is typical for this period.

Some axeheads were symbols of power over long periods. Tinning was a technique used by the early metalworkers of north-east Scotland to make axeheads extra special. Decoration is a feature particularly noted on Irish axeheads.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-422-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.DA 38
Date: 2250 - 1900 BC
Between 2250 and 1900 BC
Material: Bronze
Bronze, probably tinned; plain
Bronze; tin coating
Tin bronze; seven rows of chevron-like patterns on each face, parallel to cutting edge
Dimensions: 5.63" x 3.13" across cutting edge
5.70" L; 3.50" W across cutting edge; butt 1.05" W
6 x 3.25"
6.88" x 3.25"
What: Axe, flat
Axe, flat
Axe, flat
Axe, flat
Who: Duns Collection
Where: Scotland, Argyll, Mull, Glenforsa
Scotland, Banffshire
Scotland, Banffshire, Inverkeithny, Balnoon, Hill of Fortrie
Scotland, Bracobrae
Description: Tin bronze flat axe with seven rows of chevron-like patterns on each face, from Banffshire
Bronze flat axe, probably tinned, from Glenforsa, Mull
Bronze flat axe, from Bracobrae
Axehead of bronze, from Hill of Fortrie, Balnoon, Banffshire, 2250 - 1900 BC
  • Coles, John M. Scottish Early Bronze Age metalwork. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 101 (1968-9), 1-110. 
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