Says a farmers wife to the farmer “should we show him our treasure” a minute later, on cue an axe emerges from a Morrisons carrier bag wrapped in bubble wrap, its home in recent years.
This is a big one! Quarried a few miles away or even closer, it emerged one day form the fill of a drystone field wall that had rushed. Fortunately, as the farmer said, his wife was on hand to recognise that the hand of man had been at work here, stopping him chucking it back into the fill of the wall from whence it came.
But before it was built into this wall where had it been? In the field perhaps, ploughed up like so many other axes hereabouts and picked up by the ploughman following his horse and tossed to the side of the field eventually to be built into the wall when the mass enclosures were in full swing and walls were being built in the blink of an eye or two.
Before that; perhaps it was lost, left or buried. An offering back to the earth from where with fire and water with stick, stone and bone it had been split from the rock face high in the mountains.
Now we value the object for the histories it holds within it.
Others will value it for the the cash they can make out of it, much greater than its scale; offering it to that modern god, ebay.
Note: I came across this rough-out axe as I was asking leave to walk some fields surveying for rock art, not quite what I was expecting to find; however later in the day I did find a new cup-marked slab, a god day all round!
Locally a wall rushing is an apposite descriptive term for the collapse of a drystone wall.
This is most probably a Group VI Cumbrian Axe. Its broad blade suggests it may have been intended as an adze. Other axes that have been polished and are of these proportions have been found within Cumbria notably one found at Mechi Farm near Aspatria comes to mind. These are different to the thinner butted and waisted iconic “Cumbrian Club’s”, it is possible that these morphological differences could relate to differant social groups rather than purely functional, but that is perhaps the subject of another blog.