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from Camelon, Stirlingshire

Postcard of Pickaxe.
© National Museums Scotland


This iron pickaxe is from the site of the Roman fort at Camelon in Stirlingshire. It is of a type known as a pioneer's axe or dolabra, and was used by soldiers between 80 and 165 AD to dig ditches or clear scrub.

The pickaxe has a broad blade at one end, tapering to a pointed pick at the other. There is a central hole for the shaft. The cutting edge would have been covered with a small bronze sheath, to allow the pickaxe to be carried safely on a soldier's belt.

Roman soldiers were builders as well as fighters. On the march, they built temporary ramparts and ditches around their camps. Once an area had been conquered, the army built forts and permanent barracks of wood or stone.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-104-130-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.FX 297
Date: 80 - 165 AD
Between 80 and 165 AD
Material: Iron
Dimensions: 15.75" x 5.5"
What: Pick axe
Where: Scotland, Stirlingshire, Falkirk, Camelon
Description: Pick axe of iron from the site of the Roman fort at Camelon, Stirlingshire, 80 - 165 AD
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