Collections through Cake: Axe Hammer Heads


Kat, Curator of Archaeology, recently made these fantastic axe hammer cakes for our #MusCake escapades. They were dark chocolate and orange – as you’ll see, basically interpreting the Bronze Age through the medium of the Jaffa Cake.

The axe hammers that Kat modelled her cakes on date from the Bronze Age (2500-1500 BC). The example below comes from Wike, near Leeds. The axe hammer head is teardrop shaped and is made from sandstone.

What is amazing, is that we just don’t know if the term ‘axe hammer head’ is even correct. Some studies have shown that if the hole was used as a socket for a handle, the head would still be too heavy to be lifted and swung. They may have been used as a steadying tool for holding something in position.

More recent interpretations suggest that they might have had a ritual use. I (personally) like the idea of the hole being an area that you might look through! It’s all about interpretation… 

Another example from our collections (see right) was found near Morley, purely by chance! It’s on display in the Leeds Story Gallery at Leeds City Museum.

Keep your eyes peeled – you don’t know what you might find!

By Curator Lucy Moore

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