Aboriginal Ground Hand Axe

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Aboriginal Ground Hand Axe

Post by Dorset Andy on Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:37 am

Ploughed up on a sugar cane plantation in the Tweed River Valley in northern New South Wales, this is the hand axe (one of many discovered by the farmer) I swapped for the axe I had found in Bournemouth, in my earlier post.

Very large and very heavy, rather crude and yet finely finished, it must have taken hours and hours to polish. The Aboriginals of the Tweed River Valley region arrived there 30 000 years ago, and hand axes found nearby have been dated to that period.

The parallel scratch marks are the result of the plough. The deep, alluvial fields of the farm have no natural stone and the farmer could always hear when his plough hit a hand axe.


















Thanks for looking



Andy

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Re: Aboriginal Ground Hand Axe

Post by grendel on Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:29 pm

Do you know what stone it is made of?

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Re: Aboriginal Ground Hand Axe

Post by Dorset Andy on Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:42 pm

Hi Grendel

I guess this axe falls into that loose category of 'Greenstone'. According to Wikipedia, this can be any number of minerals with a greenish colour. I have a feeling that it is made from a type of basalt, although to my untrained eye it looks more sedimentary, rather like a granite-hard mudstone.

The region it was found in is volcanic, being situated on the edge of an extinct and massive shield volcano, with an eroded caldera that is at least 30 kilometres across. Mount Warning, the remains of the central volcanic plug, sits at the centre. Worth a look on Google Earth, it forms the largest crater/caldera in the southern hemisphere.


Is there anyone out there practising the grinding of axes today?



Andy

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Re: Aboriginal Ground Hand Axe

Post by grendel on Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:03 pm

I think it's this stuff
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenschist

Which is quite freaky because it's what they used up at Langdale to make most of Britain's polished axes. An interesting piece of parallel development.

There's a odd vid on youtube of people experimenting with polishing. And there's plenty of polished axe reproductions around in museums, but I doubt they were polished by hand.

A couple of old post you may find interesting
http://uk-knapping.forumotion.co.uk/t79-neolithic-axes-vs-mesolithic-axes
http://uk-knapping.forumotion.co.uk/t153-well-the-olympics-weren-t-a-complete-waste-of-time

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Stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out

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Re: Aboriginal Ground Hand Axe

Post by Dorset Andy on Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:55 pm

Thanks for that Grendel. Certainly a similar type of rock. Being quite coarse in grain, it doesn't seem to be particularly good for flaking, unlike flint, but lends itself well to being ground.

Langdale is an awesome place, and the axes in that video are just stunning. I wonder if the archaeologists have discovered the grinding sites in the lowlands. They should be fairly obvious, lots are known in Australia.


Cheers

Andy

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