2022’s top ten – Trench J’s trio of polished stone axes

The camptonite axe found by Chris Gee in Trench J this afternoon. (Sigurd Towrie)

The camptonite axe found by Chris Gee in Trench J. (Sigurd Towrie)

In 2022, Trench J maintained its reputation for producing polished stone axes – with three beautiful examples adding to its growing total.

At the start of the season the attention was on Structure Thirty-Two, a small, later building constructed on top of, and incorporating, the remains of Structure Five.

While examining the wall of Thirty-Two a couple of hearthstones – part of the original Structure Five – emerged.

Chris Gee noticed an unusual lump on the surface of the hearth and, when he removed it, found a magnificent stone axe – the third associated with a fireplace in Trench J since 2018!

Axe number two was found by Claire Tatlow, from California, who was excavating outside Structure Thirty-Two, only a metre or two from the spot Christopher found the first axe of the 2022 season a few days before.

Its cutting edge was undamaged and appeared to have been resharpened on several occasions during its lifetime.

The third axe of the season came from an area between two later hearths uncovered in the north-western trench extension.

Found by UHI Archaeology Institute student Clare, the axe measured 10cm long making it the largest to have come from Trench J to date.

The cutting edge was pristine, making it very likely that the axe had never been used, or certainly not re-sharpened.

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