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The Bronze Age

Axes & Maces

Axe-hammer, Balgowan, Kirkcolm

Bronze Age

A complete axe-hammer made on a cobble of local sandstone.  It has a rounded butt, flat sides and a curved blade.  The surface has been ground and polished.


Axe-hammers were in use between 2000Bc and 1500BC.  As the name suggests they combine an axe-like blade with a hammer-shaped end or butt.  They were mounted on a wooden handle which fitted into the hole in the centre of the tool.  No one really knows what axe-hammers were used for.  They may have been woodworking wedges, simple plough shares, weapons or symbols of power and prestige.  Large numbers of axe-hammers have been found in Dumfries and Galloway and there are particular concentrations in Nithsdale and the Wigtownshire Machars.

Place of Discovery:
Balgowan, Kirkcolm
Length: 205mm; Width: 105mm; Breadth: 60mm
Stranraer Museum
Accession number:
WIWMS 1951.05
Digital Number:
SMAH 014
Dumfries & Galloway Council
Roe, F. 1967 ‘The Battle-Axes, Mace-Heads and Axe-Hammers from South-West Scotland’, Trans. Dumfriesshire & Galloway Natural History & Antiquarian Society, Vol. XLIV, p 57-80.