Axe-heads and Identity: An investigation into the roles of imported axe-heads in identity formation in Neolithic Britain [Paperback]

Katharine Walker(Author)

ISBN: 9781784917449 | Published by: Archaeopress Archaeology | Year of Publication: 2018 | 1 | 334p, Illustrated throughout in color and black & white (86 color plates)
Status: In Stock - Available

Axe-heads and Identity


The significant body of stone and flint axe-heads imported into Britain from the Continent has been poorly understood, overlooked and undervalued in Neolithic studies, particularly over the past half century. It is proposed in this study, that the cause is a bias of British Neolithic scholarship against the invasion hypothesis and diffusionist model, and it is sought therefore to re-assess the significance accorded to these objects. The aim is to redress the imbalance by re-focusing on the material, establishing a secure evidence base, and exploring the probable conditions in which these often distinctive items made their way to Britain. The narrative presented here rests upon the argument that imported axe-heads came into what is today called Britain as objects of considerable significance. Specifically, they were items of high symbolic value that played a crucial role in fostering particular ways of thinking about, and addressing, social identity in the Neolithic period. These issues are the context for the study, whose main objectives are the close and detailed cataloging of relevant material, and a documentation of the investigative work needed to establish the credentials of each artifact.

Table of Contents

Preface and acknowledgements

Chapter One: Introduction
Chapter Two: Re-connecting British and continental research traditions: dynamic approaches to the relationship between axe-heads and identity
Chapter Three: ‘Afterlives’
Chapter Four: An investigation into the contexts of jade axe-heads found in Britain, using GIS terrain modelling of HER data
Chapter Five: ‘Projet Breton’ and the search for Group X
Chapter Six: ‘Crudwell’ type, ‘Smerrick’ type, and marbled all-over-polished axe-heads in Neolithic Britain
Chapter Seven: The rectangular-sectioned axe-head in Britain and its implications for understanding the Neolithic
Chapter Eight: Answering the original questions

Appendix One: Table of all known published jade axe-heads with attributed British find-spot locations (correct until 2017). Shaded in grey are axe-heads with ‘precise’ find-spot locations, included in Appendix Two)
Appendix Two: Find-spot locations, and archaeology of Mesolithic to Roman date within a 1000m radius, for 43 jade axe-heads found in Britain, presented as 41 GIS terrain models with accompanying text
Appendix Three: A table of all known Group X axe-heads and a table of Breton fibrolite axe-heads with attributed British find-spot locations
Appendix Four: Table of all published ‘Crudwell-Smerrick’ type axe-heads
Appendix Five: Table of all known axe-heads with rectangular sections which have British find-spot locations attributed. Highlighted in grey are axe-heads of probable Scandinavian origin. This is a summary of the information presented in Appendix Six
Appendix Six: Corpus of all known axe-heads with rectangular sections which have British find-spot locations attributed (summarised in Appendix Five)
Appendix Seven: Caches and hoards of axe-heads in Britain. Please note, almost all of the data included in this corpus has been taken directly from Pitts 1996, Appendix One, with a few additions by the author


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