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Stone age axe found with wood handle

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posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 10:10 PM
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This is a rare find a functional tool from the later neolithic

There isn't a lot of information on it yet but I'll provide a link to the BBC report

Neolithic axe

The stone axe is itself not exceptional but I find the way the axe is fashioned within the wood handle to be a weak way to do so and there is no external lashing of interest.

I say so because I use to make such axes and tested them, a weak point on them was the hafting technology that would often fail before the axe or the handle. It is possible that the outer lashing dissolved away.

A report from 2012 on what I believe are similar axes found in southern Scandinavia

PDF on axes

Abstract:



Southern Scandinavian jade axes have been interpreted as items of prestigious exchange illustrating contact with the agrarian societies of Central Europe and reflecting agrarian ideas and ideology. They are therefore important in the discussion concerning the process of neolithisation in Northern Europe, but the difficulties in differentiating between Neolithic axes of alpine jade from axes imported from other continents has attracted some criticism. Furthermore, some of the jade axes found in Southern Scandinavian collections originate from private collectors, many of whom had contacts all over Europe. The axes lack therefore secure archaeological contexts, and may suggest that they have not been found in Scandinavian soil. The aim of this paper is to maintain a critical approach towards the question of the origin of the jade axes from Southern Scandinavia. However, the many imitations of jade axes produced in local raw materials clearly indicate the importance of this artefact group within the Mesolithic and Neolithic transition in Southern Scandinavia.


Another report on Linhamm axes, page 184




posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 10:12 PM
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Why is it tappered down just below the axe head?

Looks like something wrapped around there.



posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 10:15 PM
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I read this article earlier today and was surprised at the condition of the handle. I would think that having been buried for so long there would be some sign of decay. The wood appears to be in great shape and almost looks polished.

I'm not casting doubt on the authenticity of the axe just curious about how it held up so well.



posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 10:24 PM
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a reply to: quercusrex

I'm marveling at that wood too. Considering the age, it looks like its only a few years old. I'm not doubting it's authenticity either, just amazed.

I don't see how it would work with out lashing though. It might last a while against flesh and bone, but if it's for wood, it looks to me like the handle would fail (splinter or split) after just a few swings without some sort of lashing to hold it together.



posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 10:32 PM
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originally posted by: quercusrex
I read this article earlier today and was surprised at the condition of the handle. I would think that having been buried for so long there would be some sign of decay. The wood appears to be in great shape and almost looks polished.

I'm not casting doubt on the authenticity of the axe just curious about how it held up so well.


Wood can survive in certain oxygenless environments for a long period of time.

The oldest known tools/weapons so far found are 400,000 year old javelins

Oldest wooden tools



posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 10:39 PM
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originally posted by: eriktheawful
a reply to: quercusrex

I'm marveling at that wood too. Considering the age, it looks like its only a few years old. I'm not doubting it's authenticity either, just amazed.

I don't see how it would work with out lashing though. It might last a while against flesh and bone, but if it's for wood, it looks to me like the handle would fail (splinter or split) after just a few swings without some sort of lashing to hold it together.



This is what I would expect for hafting of axe like that. Tomorrow I see if I can find some bog finds. They may have some hafting that survived.

A modern axe replica and a gentleman from New Guinea who still made stone axes the traditional way.




edit on 30/11/14 by Hanslune because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 10:42 PM
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a reply to: Hanslune

Yah, see you have lashing (is that cat gut?).

Still....would not want to try it on my oaks here at home. The pine maybe since it's a much softer wood.

Of course it looks just fine for splitting skulls open.

I have NO knowledge in this area though. I just know how many modern day axes I've killed over the years splitting wood.




Very interesting find.
edit on 11/30/2014 by eriktheawful because: (no reason given)

edit on 11/30/2014 by eriktheawful because: gah...misspelling all over. getting late for me.



posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 10:56 PM
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As one poster pointed out it's probably because there wasn't oxygen after it. Like the Bog People in a way. They're mostly recognizable because they were kept in that setting for years.

Also reminds me of how they worry with artifacts from the Titanic being brought up, the oxygen would go after the piece after it's left the water.



posted on Dec, 1 2014 @ 12:03 AM
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The condition is absolutely amazing I thought at first glance it was refurbished.



posted on Dec, 1 2014 @ 12:35 AM
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a reply to: Hanslune

Beautiful find, i totally had a cavemangasm!

I have to take issue with your comments on the "slotted celt" hafting though, and would been keen to know the finer details of how you constructed yours as i know slotted celts are extremely strong and i've seen folk cut down countless oaks with them, though i've only made and used a couple myself.

There are some common mistakes that are made in modern reconstructions, the main one being that the axe head touches the side of the slot, causing the haft to burst apart when chopping forces the axe head further back into the slot.

The solution is simple, the axe head must not touch the sides and enough space must be left either side, though you can fill this with a mastic like Birch tar, Pine glue etc.

Instead, the head is retained (and touches the haft/slot) only at the top and bottom of the axe rather than the sides, as the grain in the haft is naturally much stronger in that direction and can take a great deal of punishment. The axe head then settles in a position where it typically stays over potentially many hundreds of chopped down trees.

As each strike of the axe reinforces the position of the head by forcing it in the slot, so no lashing is needed - infact you could wrap it in as much sinew, or even tough rawhide as you like and it wont make much difference if the head touches the side of the slot as the axe will fail.

I think that it's Larry Kinsella who realised this, and many primitive technologists and experimental archaeologists have since followed his lead and found that this small adjustment in technique makes a profound difference to the durability of these tools.

Yes i've ranted, but the stone age gets me all excited


Thanks for sharing this Hans


ETA:

here is a vid of the man in question starting to use such an axe, further parts link from here - i'll find one of him using a beastly huge one later if i can...


edit on 1-12-2014 by skalla because: (no reason given)


2nd eta: the modern repro you link is by Chris Henry/Paleoarts by the looks of it. He's a truly great craftsman who i admire a lot, but i suspect he would agree with Larry with regards to construction methods.
edit on 1-12-2014 by skalla because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 1 2014 @ 12:47 AM
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a reply to: Hanslune

Wood handle makes it particularly interesting. So the wood is cut out and the maul slid into the hole ? Too bad we can't see it with some scale and turned slowly to see all angles.

My guess there is no wedge to hold it other than the wood itself. How it keeps from splitting while pounding on any other than a persons head has got me stumped.

They wood have discovered some special wood (burl is hard) and a treatment that hardens (or shrinks) it even more. Notice the "beveled" appearance at the bottom of the handle like they were using that end to pound something, too.

Very neat. Wished I could glimpse the dude that wielded it.
edit on 1-12-2014 by intrptr because: spelling



posted on Dec, 1 2014 @ 12:53 AM
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originally posted by: eriktheawful
Why is it tappered down just below the axe head?

Looks like something wrapped around there.


The wood around the head needs to be thicker than the handle to support the width of the axe head and allow enough material to be removed to produce the slot that the head fits into. If the haft was that thick all of the way down then it would be too wide to hold effectively hence thicker at the top, thinner at the bottom.

No binding is required - the repro posted later is more of an art/display piece too and the stone tapers too much from front to back to be held in properly in slotted celt fashion, you can see some glue/mastic/filler has been used as well. When constructed properly, each blow reinforces the position of the axe head. You'll see that the original in the OP has only a little taper from the front of the head to the back.

It's a supremely effective design when done right and much of europe was cleared of trees with this tool.



posted on Dec, 1 2014 @ 01:08 AM
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i was saving these to make a thread in the next few weeks but sod it, i doubt i'd have got many readers








Maybe you can translate Hans!



posted on Dec, 1 2014 @ 01:34 AM
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a reply to: skalla

Thanks for the excellent comments. I use to make them with lots of resin and cartilage clue on the sides. I'm trying to find a photo of those.

close up of the found axe




posted on Dec, 1 2014 @ 04:50 AM
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A question; is it local stone or is it jade? It does not look like jade as I know it, but I could be wrong.

If it is jade (you linked a PDF article to Scandinavian jade axes), then the axe certainly belonged to a powerful person or clan. The axe therefore could have been a ritual or prestige object, and the fitting did not have to be functional in the sense of use, resisting impact and wear.

I remember a dig a few years ago where a jade axe came out of a neolithic burial in Brittany. The jade was finely worked and traced to a quarry in the Italian Alps. That axe was probably as precious as elvish steel and was not used to chop wood with.



posted on Dec, 1 2014 @ 04:53 AM
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a reply to: Hanslune

That's a common approach, but if you think about it, quite impractical.

Sinew/gut/rawhide etc will not stop a forceful blow from sending a stone head through the sides of a haft - it may prevent the head from flying out and hitting you, but it wont stop a split - the axe is useless either way if these results occur.

The resin wont hold the head in place for long either. A brittle mix will just crack/dislodge once you start whacking a tree with the thing, and a more elastic mix may absorb some shock, but that will just slightly reduce the force of the blow against what ever you are trying to cut.

Like a lot of stuff, it's the finer detail that turns a tool from being sufficient, into truly effective.

Binding etc is effective on other designs such as typical adze style haftings when you use an "L" shaped limb and butt the stone head against a craved shoulder in the bottom part of the "L", but then an adze is often used with less force. The black and white pic you posted of the guy binding a stone axe is using a variant this kind of technique.
edit on 1-12-2014 by skalla because: clarity



posted on Dec, 1 2014 @ 04:56 AM
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a reply to: Heliocentric

Jade is often a generic term for Greenstone, not just the pretty and precious stuff.

A good example is the Langdale Axe Industry during the Neolithic in the Lake District in England.
edit on 1-12-2014 by skalla because: typo



posted on Dec, 1 2014 @ 06:09 AM
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a reply to: skalla

The stone adzes shown here, that I immediately wanted instinctively to call "peckers" because of their shape, are indicative of a woodpecker's bill, which can explain their design origins before the designed matured into a blade shape.



posted on Dec, 1 2014 @ 07:23 AM
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a reply to: Hanslune


The stone axe is itself not exceptional but I find the way the axe is fashioned within the wood handle to be a weak way to do so and there is no external lashing of interest.

I say so because I use to make such axes and tested them, a weak point on them was the hafting technology that would often fail before the axe or the handle. It is possible that the outer lashing dissolved away.


From the source:


The axe seems to have been jammed into what was once the seabed, perhaps as part of a ritual offering.


If the axe was indeed a ritual offering, then there wasn't any need for utilitarian lashing, it was just an axe for show.



posted on Dec, 1 2014 @ 11:31 AM
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In this vid Larry Kinsella explains the point i made above about where the blade does not touch the sides of the slot in the haft. He says he learned this from the reknowned flintknapper and primitive technologist (and also Archaeologist) Errett Callaghan


edit on 1-12-2014 by skalla because: correction



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