stone axe

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A block of hard generally fine‐grained stone fashioned by flaking and grinding into a roughly triangular or trapezoidal shape with an oval cross‐section and a blade at the broader thicker end. Found widely throughout the world in essentially Neolithic contexts there are numerous typological and stylistic variations on this simple theme. In the European Neolithic many stone axes were probably used for felling trees and woodworking, although the term is generally applied to implements that on closer inspection turn out to have been wedges, adzes, chisels, and gouges. Some stone axes are so finely made, of such large size, or manufactured from such soft material that they must have had a ceremonial or symbolic function. Almost all stone axes would originally have been mounted in a wooded or bone haft.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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