Bronze age hand axe

Contributed by Jonathan

This axe head was found by a friend of mine on the banks of the river Stour, after it had been dredged in 2003. It is unused and still contained traces of sand, chalk and crushed shell inside it that had been used in the casting process. These are materials that are not local to the area where it was found. The find underlines the importance of trading nearly 3000 years ago, with everyday items that could not be manufactured locally being brought up the river to Suffolk settlements. Bronze metallurgy was complex and demanded access to both specialised skills and the necessary raw materials. Bronze was an expensive commodity that was carefully husbanded. Not far from where the axe head was found, a hoard of scrap was recovered from a farmer's field a couple of years ago, presumably waiting to be sold for melting and recasting. I like to imagine the fury of the trader as he punted his boat towards the shore and prepared his bronze axe heads for his customers and watched one of them slip over the side of the boat into the water - irretrievably lost. It underlines to me that, however different our society may be from the bronze age, as people we remain fundamentally the same

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Probably East Anglia


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