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2018-12-01 14:50:54   •   ID: 2055

Neolithic axe from the Île-de-France

Figure 1
The polished axe is an artifact, that was early recognized by Antiquarians as a tool made by humans.

These insight was also made possible by ethnographic items, that accumulated in the early European Museums since the 18th century onwards- see also 1182 about the history of Ceraunia and Thunderbolts.

The artifact of this post is s a Neolithic triangular and pointed axehead, made of flint with greenish color, that was carefully polished. There is some course secondary damage, also seen on the picture here. The lateral margins were well finished. The blade edge is curved, symmetrical and still intact.

In the Saine Valley such axes appear in larger numbers since the Middle Neolithic after the LBK-phase. It is interesting that we know such axes also from post-Neolithic secondary contexts, for example from Roman sites in Britain, where they may have been deliberately collected, for symbolic reasons. About secondary contextes see also here: 1056

François Giligny et al. already described the production sites of axe heads mainly from the Middle Neolithic in the Seine Valley between Paris and Le Havre, the Chaîne opératoire of axe manufacturing for different raw materials and the circulation of rough outs and finished axes along the Seine Valley as an important transport route.

Beyond the practical context, axes were of great importance in the symbolic sphere and Neolithic imagination.

In his thesis: Ceci n’est pas une hache Karsten Wentink (see attached free pdf file) showed that TBK-axes, deposited in the Netherlands either in graves or in waterlogged places were loaded with different symbolic / ideological meaning:

Smaller and worn axes from a funerary context became "inscribed with a group’s history" .

The significant larger and non-damaged "ceremonial" axes deposited in bogs had a very different connotation: "Through depositing these ceremonial axes outside the sphere of everyday life such an object along with its powers was returned to a larger social and cosmic universe".