Battle axehead

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from Remote, Cranstown, Midlothian

Postcard of Battle axehead.
© National Museums Scotland

Battle axehead

This stone battle axehead was found at Remote at Cranstown in Midlothian. It dates from around 2000 to 1700 BC. Although battle axes could have been used as weapons, like recent Native American clubs, they were principally symbols of power, indicating high status.

The battle axehead has a blade a butt and a shafthole positioned towards the butt end. It splays at the blade and butt. The stone head would have been fixed onto the top of an organic handle by means of its shafthole.

Battle axe use was adopted from the Continent in the centuries before 2000 BC. Battle axes remained a popular status symbol for around 1000 years. Their heads were often made of beautiful and hard-to-work stone, and their shape changed according to fashions over the centuries.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-004-811-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.AH 116
Date: Between 2000 and 1700 BC
Material: Greenstone
Dimensions: 4.69" x 2.88"
What: Hammer
Where: Scotland, Midlothian, Cranstown, Remote
Description: Hammer of greenstone from Remote, Cranstown, Midlothian
  • Clough, T.H.McK. and Cummins, W.A. (eds). Stone Axe Studies, Volume 2. London: Council for British Archaeology (Research Report 67), 1988. 
  • Fenton, M.B. The petrological identification of stone battle axes and axe-hammers from Scotland. In: Clough, T.H.McK. and Cummins, W.A. (eds). Stone Axe Studies. London: Council for British Archaeology (Research Report 67), 1988, pp 92-132. 
  • Roe, F.E.S. The Battle-Axe series in Britain. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 32 (1966), 199-245. 
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