Ancient House Museum’s History of Thetford in 100 Objects

Ancient House Museum’s History of Thetford in 100 Objects - a stone axe-hammer. Picture: Ancient Hou

Ancient House Museum’s History of Thetford in 100 Objects - a stone axe-hammer. Picture: Ancient House Museum - Credit: Archant

This month’s item is a stone axe-hammer found at Croxton Park near Thetford.

This large perforated stone object was found and brought into the museum in October 1976 as an object enquiry, a free service offered by the Norfolk Museums Service.

It was identified as a stone axe-hammer dating from the late Neolithic to the early Bronze Age period -about 4500 to 3500 years ago.

The museum purchased the object from the finder in 1977 to add to the collection as an excellent example of this unusual type of artefact.

Although known as an axe-hammer, the function of this object is something of a prehistoric mystery. It seems to be too heavy for use as a hammer on a handle that would fit its hole.


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Perhaps it was a steadying tool for holding a shaft or handle in position? Or maybe used as a massive wedge? More recently however, archaeologists prefer to consider these objects’ possible ritual significance, perhaps in ceremonies to honour the living and the dead.

The museum team is planning to use the hefty Croxton axe-hammer in its next exhibition to open in the winter featuring handmade objects from metal, stone, textile, wood and ceramics.

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This will follow on from our current display which is all about Thetford’s pulpware industry.

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