The deliberate destruction of Late Bronze Age socketed axeheads in Cornwall
Knight, Matthew G
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The deliberate destruction of socketed axeheads is a common feature among Late Bronze Age finds. It is particularly noticeable in the numerous single finds and hoards that have been recovered from Cornwall recently. Interpretations have tended to focus on why these objects were damaged, with little understanding of how this was undertaken. This contribution summarises a series of experimental activities conducted on modern replica axeheads based on an example from St Buryan to better understand the practice of deliberate destruction. The results are then compared with prehistoric metalwork from Cornwall. It is argued that by understanding the processes by which these objects were destroyed, one can better interpret the technological processes and the people that were involved in preparing the objects for deposition. This paper closes with some suggestions for future research into experimental destruction.