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Iron axe-head inlaid with silver

Axe head facing right

  • Axe head facing left

    Axe head facing left

 

Length: 17.500 cm

Britain, Europe and Prehistory
1961,0505.1

    Iron axe-head inlaid with silver

    Merovingian, 7th century AD
    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

    S. Marzinzik, Masterpieces: Early medieval a (London, British Museum Press, 2013)

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    Life and training of English tilers, £8.99

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