Stone Age axe, or not?

Owen is an archaeologist whose favourite subject is the Stone Age, so he knew what he was looking for when he found the red quartz stone below the sandy cliffs. However, he was not 100% convinced, so took his find along to a specialist in the Stone Axe Project in University College Dublin.

Viewed from the side.


The specialist found the object very interesting, particularly the curve that you can see running along the upper side of the “blade”.


As seen from the other side.

Based on a careful examination of the quartz crystals (the white bands on the right, in the photo immediately above) at the thick, blunt end of the stone, the expert concluded that the remarkably axe-like shape was created naturally by weathering occurring more quickly on one side than the other – the crystal acting as a support preventing one end of the stone wearing away over a long period of time.

Although Owen accepts the expert’s findings there are some little details that are interesting:

Indentation on the "bottom" of the stone.

Firstly, all stone axes have a common trait, an indentation carved into the bottom. This is normally the axehead base, where the centre of gravity is located on the handle. If it’s natural weathering, why did the broad area of quartz crystals clearly visible at the base erode? And, why did the crystal in the seam at the very back completely collapse and fall out, leaving the surrounding stone intact?

The narrowest part of the axe, at the "top".

Once again there is clear evidence of crystal eroding and falling out of the stone. An interesting conundrum by any standards.


3 thoughts on “Stone Age axe, or not?”

  1. Do anyone know who would be able to date a large selection of worked flint. I do have an idea but would not have the experience to give a definite period . The biggest problem is the lack of comparisons with other flint from the South East. As you can see today’s finds show that the core flint is not just small modules. Contact names would be great.

  2. If you found it in Ireland you should probably contact the National Museum on Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Thanks for your comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *