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Danish Neolithic thin-butted axes Types and definitions

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Danish Neolithic Axes. The thinbutted axe is the most common, but also the most popular danish axe. Counting the large terrific offeraxes, and more plain workingaxes. These axes were used around 3500 b.c.

About thin butted axes:

Definition: breadth of the neck measure more than 4 cm. And the thickness of the neck is minor than 40% of the neck-broad. Thin butted axes have been used ca 600 years during “dysse”-time and early “jættestue”-time (dysse and jættestue is different stone graves, they have given name to the period where they where made)

To describe the development of the thin butted axes during this long time, we use a series of measurements on the axe.

Based on these measurements we calculate an index for the relative thickness of the neck, the placement of the thickest point on the blade and the broad side vault..
Also important for the type classifications is the shape of the neck (sharp, flat etc) And the narrow-side polishes shape.
I use a elektronic spirit-level to messure the axe angel. A protractor and a long stick Can also do the trick:

These large axes was a status-symbol, in Jutland the men got there axe with them in the graves when they died. Of unknown reason the men in east Denmark never got there axes with them in the graves. But on the other hand we have in the east part of the country many depots of axes lied down in lakes and streams as offer gift to God or divine power.

Type I. Slim axe, neck-breadth on 4-5 cm. Neck is irregular in shape or sharp that means that broad-sides are meting in a sharp neck-edge. The angel between the slim-sides is relative large (4-12 degree) and broad-sides are much vaulted. Also the slim-sides are often vaulted. Technical and shape or this axe type is related to the point-butted axe type 3. The time is middle dysse-time. Common in east Denmark skåne and Bornholm. Measure from 14 to 38 cm.

 Type II Slim axe. The only difference from type I is minor slim-side angel (2-6 degree). That makes the slim-sides almost parallel. The polish  is intensive and the side’s edge  can be totally round polished. The time span and prevalence, same as type I . Measure from 16 to 40 cm.

Type III  Broad with almost parallel slim-sides broad at neck variety between 4.6 to 6.8 cm and the dimensions is heavier than type I and II. The Broad-sides is often much vault (48% average) whereas slim-sides only are a little vaulted. The polished is intensive also on slim-sides, these is not often rounded, s on type II. The technical level is generally better than type I and II . The prevalence is most easts (sealand skåne and Bornholm) there are 2 types:

Type IIIa: Strongly vaulted, the slim-sides are under 2.0 cm. Very common on sealant and in Mecklenburg south from Baltic Sea. In a grave near Ribe (vest Jutland) is the type found relative early. About middle of to late dysse-tid.
Type IIIb: Thicker and not so vault as IIIa. Slim-sides is more than 2 cm. Apparent little younger than IIIa. This variant is found a couple of times with long-dysser from late dysse-time.

Type IV  Broad and flat with obtuse neck and parallel slim-sides. Straight side-border (not rounded). Slim-sides are flat and broad-sides are slightly vault. Slim-side angel is often relative large (2-11 degree)  that leads to a lengthy trapezoid shape. The neck sometimes has got a flaking in the one corner made from the side. The polish is intensive, but the slim-sides are never rounded. By “Arnakke” on vest sealand is 2 axes with shafts in birch-tree been found. The type is common in whole Denmark,
but rear in north Germany and skåne. A strong concentration is found around “Limfjorden” (north Jutland). Known from many graves in Jutland medium dyssetime. From This type is the longest axes known. (46.4 cm) 

Type V Found especially in north Jutland. Narrow blade with obtuse neck. And parallel slim-sides. (2-7 degree) broad-sides is only slightly vaulted, slim-sides are flat and broader than type IV. Considerable shorter than type IV. Measure 14-31 cm. Founded in several depots with amber pearls. The type is known as well from earth graves as from megalith-chambers from late dysse-time. 

Type VI  Broad axe with obtuse neck and broad slim-sides. Sometimes are edge corners with little flare, especially on flaked axes. The neck is obtuse often with flaking done from the neck. This axe is relative short (14-36 cm) but on the other hand often very thick (2.6-6.2 cm)  slim-sides are vaulted and from time to time partial polished. This type is spread all around Denmark except the most west. From skåne and north Germany is only found a few. The type is found in many dysser from Jutland late dysse-time. Opposite the type V is this axe often made in ruff Daniel-flint.

Type VII (blandebjerg-axe)  Broad axe, obtuse neck and unpolished slim-sides. Like the type V and VI has the type VII a relative thick neck (neck index 40%) . much like the type VI but more slight. Broad-sides are less vaulted, almost flat. Named after the settlement 
“Blandebjerg” on the island “langeland”. From early jættestue-tie faze II , and the only type thin-butted axe found in jættestue-graves. Shafted axes are found in
Sigerslev by stevns and Borum by Aarhus.

update 3.sep.2008: Here some long thinbutted offeraxes from my private collection, please enjoy

I hope you got some usefull knowledge about this danish axe type. Thanks -Tom

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