Rare Bronze Age artefacts unearthed by metal detector enthusiasts will help future generations piece together a picture of life in ancient Wharfedale.The two bronze axe heads, essential tools for early farmers cutting down trees and cultivating the land, have been given to Ilkley’s Manor House Museum.
The oldest axes, known as hand axes, had no shaft and were used by Homo ergaster is the name used for fossils of humans of the Homo genus who lived in Eastern and Southern Africa between 1.9 and 1.4 million years ago.The discovery — which was found in data from a 3D laser scanner — doubles the number of known prehistoric artworks in England, said Marcus Abbott, one of the researchers who worked on the project for English Heritage.The axe heads are perfect representations of the kind circulated in the early Bronze Age — around 1750 to 1500 B. — indicating that they were carved when Stonehenge was about 1,000 years old, Abbott said.READ MORE: Stonehenge rock fragments linked to outcrop in Wales The heads were carefully placed in a single, deliberate art panel, said Abbott, head of geomatics and visualization for Arc Heritage.Such carvings have long been associated with burials and funeral practices, Abbott said.The species name ergaster comes from the Greek word for worker and was chosen after the discovery of several tools, such as stone axes and cutters, close to skeletal remains from this group.The hand axe was a pear-shaped and roughly chipped stone tool brought to an even point, with a broad handle.The axe heads contain two pounds of pure metal and are 12 inches (30 centimeters) wide.The farmer who owns the field, Esben Arildskov, asked his brother-in-law to use a metal detector in the field before he started planting, as he didn’t wanted to destroy anything with any historical value.Museum officer Gavin Edwards said it was very unusual for bronze items to be found. They’ll be part of the collection on display and they’ll be preserved for future generations,” he said.The axe heads are perfect representations of the kind circulated in the early Bronze Age — around 1750 to 1500 B. — indicating that they were carved when Stonehenge was about 1,000 years old, said Marcus Abbott.