Length: 17.500 cm
Room 41: Europe AD 300-1100
Iron axe-head inlaid with silver
Merovingian, 7th century
From the area of Neuwied, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
A ceremonial or battle axe
The axe, particularly the lighter francisca, or throwing-axe, was a favourite weapon of the Franks, and the francisca took its name from them. The elaborate silver-inlay decoration of this example is a clear mark of the owner's status or military rank. It is very rare on this type of weapon. Though the decoration does not mean that the axe could not be used in hand-to-hand combat, it may suggest that it had a ceremonial function. The wooden shaft has not survived.
D.M. Wilson, 'A Frankish axe-head from Germany', The British Museum Quarterly-1, 28 (1964), pp. 30-32, plate 11