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Thomas H.




Location: Minnesota
Joined: 27 Apr 2010

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PostPosted: Tue 27 Apr, 2010 12:45 pm    Post subject: Ancient Axe ... or Not??         Reply with quote

While on vacation in France, staying at a \"gite\" east of Bordeaux, I found that our host was using this ax to split his firewood! the head is about 8\" in length; the bearded face perhaps seven inches, using my hand as a guide.

He said he found it when the neighbor had plowed his field. The area is in the Bastide country of France, near the Dordogne river in Acquitaine.

Could it possibly be of the medieval era, even Viking?

Thomas H



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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Apr, 2010 5:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The handle socket has an unusual notch or formed shape about it. This looks to me more like a machine or die forged shape rather than a hand forged axe where I would expect; folded "bow tie" style formed socket, or a drifted "eye" shaped socket. The appearance of some medieval era axe heads and the appearance of their sockets are shown here. http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manu...ng_axe.htm
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

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PostPosted: Tue 27 Apr, 2010 7:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with Jared. The socket doesn't look like a Viking-constructed one at all to my eye. But as for a later Medieval piece, I can't say. I'm really not familiar with that area, but I can say with almost total certainty that it isn't a Viking Age piece.
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Tue 27 Apr, 2010 11:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not really an expert on late medieval axes and later, but the socket style is typical for axes that I've seen attributed to the late medieval period. But I don't know enough about later axes to say whether it's truly medieval or could possibly also be later.
Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Apr, 2010 12:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is a type of axe you see in the 14th and 15th C. Very typical with the shape of the blade and the eye. I have seen many axes very similar to this in museum store rooms. If it really is that old is difficult to say. It may well be. On the other hand some axe designs persisted into more recent times.
My gut feeling tells me it is medieval.
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Viktor Abrahamson




Location: Sweden
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Apr, 2010 1:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This type of socket was common in sweden until a hundred years ago or so.
Here we call them "svensköga" "swedish eye" the socket being the eye. Maybe it is typical for sweden, i don´t know.
The style on the axe itself looks old in any case.
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Sa'ar Nudel




Location: Haifa, Israel
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PostPosted: Thu 29 Apr, 2010 1:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
It is a type of axe you see in the 14th and 15th C. Very typical with the shape of the blade and the eye. I have seen many axes very similar to this in museum store rooms. If it really is that old is difficult to say. It may well be. On the other hand some axe designs persisted into more recent times.
My gut feeling tells me it is medieval.


I believe so too - maybe later, 17th century. This is a known french pattern and also swedish, as Viktor said. the notch at the back of the socket is a stress crack created by repeated hammering over - for log splitting - a common misuse.

Curator of Beit Ussishkin, regional nature & history museum, Upper Galilee.
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