Polished stone axe, Kirkmaiden

Kildonan Moss, Kirkmaiden, Wigtownshire
A complete stone axe.  It is made from a type of rock which is only found in the Langdale and Scafell areas of modern Cumbria.  This rock was extensively quarried for axes during the Neolithic period.  Examples of Cumbrian axes are found across Scotland and are the most common axe type from Dumfries and Galloway.  Axes like this were probably traded and exchanged for leather and cattle and other local products.   Stone axeheads were surprisingly efficient. Fitted to a shaft of wood, antler or bone they could be used to remove the bark and phloem, which carried the nutrients of a tree, and in time it died. Large areas of forest could also be cleared by felling. Experiments in Denmark have revealed that this type of axe was most effective if swung from the elbow with short, sharp cuts. In this way three men cleared 500 square metres of silver birch forest in four hours, felling over a hundred trees!      Some of these axeheads have had small sections removed. When these were examined under a microscope it was possible to identify where the stone came from, revealing much about ancient trade routes. Most of the axes here were made at sites in Great Langdale in Cumbria. Some were probably exported as rough outs and finished locally, but others would have been finished on site. 
Object no :
Collection :
Creator :
Place of Production :
Dimensions :
length 150mm
Materials :
stone (volcanic tuff)
Location :
Kildonan Moss, Kirkmaiden, Wigtownshire
Related site :
Accession number :
Copyright :
Dumfries & Galloway Council
You must enable javascript to view this website