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The Bronze Age

Axes & Maces

Flanged Axehead, Drumcruilton Farm

Bronze Age

From the Grierson Collection, this  Middle Bronze Age haft flanged axe has a semi-circular blade with a hook at each side.  There is a replica of the axe in the museum collections. 


The first metalwork

Metal working was a complex and lengthy process. A small pit was dug, filled with crushed ore and charcoal, and then ignited. The temperature was raised by using bellows, perhaps made of animal skin. Once smelting had occurred the molten metal collected in a crucible and tipped into the mould. After cooling the casting was removed and hammered to smooth any rough edges. Cutting edges on axe heads would have been sharpened by hammering or grinding. When stone moulds were in use shapes tended to be simple, but about 3,500 years ago multiple section clay moulds were developed which enabled more complicated shapes to be made.


Early Bronze Age metal workers used pure copper, but this made objects which were flexible in use and difficult to cast. After a period of experimentation, bronze, an alloy of 90 per cent copper and 10 per cent tin was developed. In Dumfries and Galloway most Bronze Age metalwork has been found on lowlands and in river valleys. The River Nith especially has revealed many finds, perhaps because traders and settlers used it to move between the Solway shores and Ayrshire.



Place of Discovery:
Drumcruilton Farm
length: 110 mm width (blade): 50 mm depth: 37 mm
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
Digital Number:
TRUCKELL, A E - "The Grierson Collection, Thornhill, and its Dispersal", TDGNHAS, 3rd series, Volume 43, p65-72, 1966

COLES, John - "Bronze Age Metalwork in Dumfries and Galloway", TDGNHAS, 3rd series, Volume 42, p61-98, 1965

ANDERSON, Joseph and BLACK, George F - "Reports on local Museums in Scotland", PSAS, Volume 22, p376, 1887-1888


BLACK, G F and BISSET, J "Catalogue of Dr Grierson's Museum, Thornhill, 1894, p79

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