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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1957A122
Collection:Antiquities - Prehistory


This exceptionally large stone axe comes from the island of Unst.It is well finished and has been polished all over. It is so large that it was almost certainly never intended for use as an axe. It doubtless served a ceremonial function, perhaps to indicate the importance of a leader or as a high status diplomatic gift exchange. There are ethnographic parallels of such uses of stone axes in relatively recent times.

Purchased from Birmingham Archaeological Society.

Further Information

Production Period:Neolithic (8000 BC-5000 BC)
Place of Origin:Unst, Shetland Islands, Scotland
Place of Excavation:Unst, Shetland Islands, Scotland


Height:395 mm