Towards a Quantitative Analysis of Aronze Axe Metalwork Wear

Author(s): Rachel Crellin; Mark Purnell

Year: 2016


Bronze axes are arguably the most important objects of study for understanding the start of metallurgy in Europe; a process of material transformation that irrevocably altered the prehistoric world. Yet we cannot accurately answer the simple question ‘what were bronze axes used for’? This paper aims to begin to establish more clearly the way that wear develops on the blades of bronze axes. Existing studies in metalwork wear analysis have relied on qualitative analysis of replicas used in a limited number of experiments primarily focused on tree chopping and felling. We report on a new experimental analysis in which axes are used for a range of different tasks involving different worked materials. Quantitative analysis of surface texture using focus variation microscopy (Alicona Infinite Focus microscope) was carried out before, during and after the experiments in order to test the hypothesis that working different materials generates significant differences in wear textures and to establish how wear patterns develop over time. The results increase our understanding of how wear develops with use, and reveal the relationship between the parameters that quantify the texture of the worn surface and the nature of the worked materials.

Cite this Record

Towards a Quantitative Analysis of Aronze Axe Metalwork Wear. Rachel Crellin, Mark Purnell. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403168)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;