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Bronze Age Axe Hammer

2100 - 1500 BC

Stone axe hammer worked from a large slab of igneous rock. Roughly triangular in shape with a hole at its centre. The hole would have presumably been used to attach the axe hammer to a wooden shaft.

It was found by a man walking in Woodbank Park, Stockport in 1975. 

The axe hammer is important as very little evidence remains for early prehistoric settlement in central Stockport. Cremation burials have been recorded in Cheadle and Portwood and a small handful of finds recovered but these all date from the late 19th/early 20th century. 

How the axe hammer was used still remains a bit of a prehistoric mystery. They are often believed to be a form of tool used in mining or agriculture. The name ‘axe hammer’ is somewhat misleading. As the size of the hole in the hammer suggests if they were mounted on a handle they would have been too weak to swing (they are very heavy!). A more likely practical use would be as a steadying tool for holding a shaft or handle in position.

Recent interpretations, however, suggest these mysterious objects may have had special ritual significance to our Bronze Age ancestors and may have been used in ceremonies to honour the living and the dead.