4,000-year-old Bronze age axe head discovered in St Clether, Cornwall

An early Bronze Age flat axe head was discovered on our recent dig in St Clether, Cornwall UK by Keith Harris. The day itself was extremely quiet for finds, probably due to the heavily mineralised soil conditions, so Keith done extremely well to find this using his Garrett Ace 300i.

The earliest metal axes in Cornwall were made of Irish and British copper. Bronze, made by alloying copper and tin from Cornwall, first appears in Britain around 2150 BCE. Similar shaped bronze flat axes soon replaced the copper ones. Flat axes were cast by pouring molten metal into simple one-piece, flat stone moulds.

Early Bronze Age (c. 2050–1500 BCE)

Around 2,000 BC marks the beginning of the Bronze Age in Britain. It is generally accepted, though not proven, that the new bronze tools and weapons associated with this period were imported from continental Europe. The Bronze Age skulls found in burial sites are not like the Stone Age skulls in shape. This would imply that fresh perspectives and new people were brought in from the continent. If both materials are available, stone and bronze can be used together. A blend of 90% copper and 10% tin makes true bronze. Both materials were easily accessible at the time in Britain.

The Bronze Age was in full swing in Europe before it arrived in Britain.The expansion of the bronze trade into Europe was centered on the island of Crete. The best bronze weapons were made by the Mycenaeans. Around 2,000 BC, they arrived from southern Russia and settled in Greece’s lowlands. They started doing business with the Minoans there. They developed a sizable navy and started attacking nearby lands. They eventually became the dominant force in the Aegean Sea around 1,400 BC after gradually assimilating to the Minoan way of life.


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