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.
The specialist found the object very interesting, particularly the curve that you can see running along the upper side of the “blade”.
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:
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?
Once again there is clear evidence of crystal eroding and falling out of the stone. An interesting conundrum by any standards.