Flint axe

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Worked from a fine grey coloured flint, we can see how this axe was painstakingly knapped and polished into its fine symmetrical form.

The thin-butted axe is usually made from flint, but some versions in other stone occur in both flint-rich and flint-poor areas. They tend to be seen as a working axe, and originate from roughly 3700 - 3200 BC. The older types are generally longer and broader and have a thinner butt than the later thick-butted axe. The thin-butted axe was good for forest clearing, probably in the context of ring-barking.

These tools date to the north-west European Neolithic, the period when societies across northern Europe began to adopt agriculture. The magnitude of the changes during this era cannot be overstated. The transition from hunter-gatherer societies towards a more sedentary, farm-oriented existence is one of the most critical moments in human history, ultimately enabling the rise of civilization. It was stone tools that paved the way for this development, cutting down the ancient forests that had supported hunter gather societies for thousands of years and allowing the growth of crops and grazing animals.

The Neolithic Scandinavians were a conservative people, who clung resolutely to the use of stone tools even as their neighbours adopted metalworking. This evocative artefact; broad, hardy and strong, has more than a hint of the society that produced it.

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