Neolithic flint axe and preserved wooden handle discovered in Denmark

Flint Axe and wooden handle (Museum Lolland-Falster)

Flint Axe and wooden handle (Museum Lolland-Falster)

Another fantastic find by archaeologists working on the Fehmarn Belt Tunnel scheme in Denmark. They have uncovered a Neolithic flint axe that is still held within its wooden handle. The axe was discovered within foreshore silts and these damp, relatively anaerobic conditions helped to preserve the organic handle. A number of other artefacts, including wooden paddles, were also identified at this location. Many of of the artefacts appeared to have been deliberately inserted into the seabed in a vertical manner and this has lead to speculation that they may represent some form of ritual activity.

Anker Sørensen, an archaeologist at the Museum Lolland-Falster, conveyed some of the excitement surrounding this site when she stated, ‘finding a hilt axe that is so well preserved is absolutely incredible‘.

Source (in Danish)

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14 Responses to Neolithic flint axe and preserved wooden handle discovered in Denmark

  1. Keith November 24, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

    Any indication as to how it is fixed to the shaft??

    • Colm November 24, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

      I don’t Keith, as far as I’m aware it was was sent straight to the lab for conservation, I’m sure more information will follow shortly

    • sandrin November 26, 2014 at 3:19 am #

      judging by the photo the handle has a carved hole where the stone is inserted. one side of the stone seem smaller.

  2. Spokesrider November 24, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

    Was the handle itself shaped with stone tools? If so, how?

  3. David November 26, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    Ritually placed. More likely dropped out of boat or from an overturned boat and sank heavy end down.

    • Ben November 27, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

      Very good point! I love how Archaeologists try and say almost everything is ritual.

      • Felix November 22, 2015 at 1:16 am #

        Ritual was common and frequent. These people lived during an age where surviving to adolescence was a real accomplishment. Risk of death and injury was everywhere. People TODAY still use ritual in even the most mundane of situations–it is something that has never gone away in time, just the reasons have changed.

    • Felix November 22, 2015 at 1:15 am #

      Yet when an item falls to the bottom of the seabed, they don’t remain suspended upright, they will eventually fall horizontal once the wood becomes waterlogged. It is amazing how much people want to cast doubt into the expertise of others–I wager you’re not an archaeologist, so stop trying to immediately discredit their suggestions. They are the ones who actually know about these kinds of things, and trends in other site finds. There are plenty of reasonable conclusions to suggest ritual activity with deliberate placement/positioning of items, especially during an age where ritual practice was commonplace.

  4. Robbie December 3, 2014 at 6:13 am #

    The handle is well shaped and finished. I expected it to be somewhat rough hewn, but it should be no surprise to see Neolithic wood working is as accomplished as their stone work. If only more survived, how enriched our view would be.

    • David Malone January 11, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

      Quite alot of wooden artifacts are found in Norwegian sites due to the amount of underwater archaeology that goes on. Almost whole paddles and canoes are found sometimes, the paddles still exhibit designs.

  5. Joseph Collins May 15, 2016 at 2:40 am #

    I think I’ve found a stone axe head while digging in Clare, who could I contact about getting it checked?

    • Colm May 18, 2016 at 8:15 pm #

      Hi Joseph you should contact the folks at the National Museum of Ireland


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