Shaft-hole axes are common artifacts of the Scandinavian Late Neolithic. This heavy granite axe comes from Southern Jutland in Denmark. Archaeologist Per Lekberg has proposed that Late Neolithic shaft-hole axes were originally manufactured to lengths of 20 to 35 centimeters and were successively reduced through use and reworking. This axe is 17 centimeters long, suggesting a lengthy use life before it was discarded—most likely through deliberate deposition in a burial. Both the context of recovery and the considerable labor involved in its production and maintenance suggest that this was a valued object.
In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.