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Stone handaxe
THIS small handaxe is one of the most beautiful in the British Museum. It is made from quartz with attractive amethyst banding, a difficult material from which to make tools because it is extremely hard. The toolmaker would have had to hit with considerable force and accuracy to remove flakes. Such a high degree of difficulty makes the thin, symmetrical shape of this piece a masterpiece of the toolmakers’ art.
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The facts
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Many Bluestones disappeared when early tourists stopped at the blacksmith’s shop at Amesbury to hire a hammer and chipped away their own souvenirs. Treasure hunters searching beneath the sarsen stones also contributed to the destruction. What do we really know about Stonehenge? We know where the stones came from, the people responsible for the building, possibly the methods used and, thanks to the radio carbon dating of the deer antlers found in the pits, the approximate dates. Where, who, when and how – these questions we can attempt to answer. What, however, is more difficult.


The facts






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