Iron adze-hammer

Roman Britain, late 1st century AD
From Bull's Wharf, London

The adze-hammer was a boatwright's most important tool. It was also in common use by carpenters. The original appearance of this fine example is preserved because it was deposited in waterlogged conditions. It was found with samian ware pottery at a Thames-side site in the late 1950s.

During the Roman period and throughout history the level of the River Thames has gradually risen. The water-logging of earlier deposits, which inhibits the corrosion of metal and the destruction of organic materials, has preserved many early Roman finds in a near-perfect condition. Analysis of wood fragments surviving in the socket of this adze-hammer has shown that the handle was made from wood of the rowan, whitebeam or service tree (sorbus sp.)

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More information


W.H. Manning, Catalogue of the Romano-Britis (London, The British Museum Press, 1985)


Length: 22.000 cm

Museum number

P&EE 1956 4-3 1


Gift of F.G. d'Aquila


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