The Ancient Stone Implements, Weapons, and Ornaments of Great Britain/Chapter 9


CHAPTER IX.

PERFORATED AND GROOVED HAMMERS.

Closely allied to the axe-hammers, so closely indeed that the forms seem to merge in each other, are the perforated hammer-heads of stone, which are found of various shapes, and are formed of several different kinds of rocks. In many instances, the whole of the external surface has been carefully fashioned and ground into shape, but it is at least as commonly the case that a symmetrical oval pebble has been selected for the hammer-head, and has been thus used without any labour being bestowed upon it, beyond that necessary for boring the shaft-hole. By some antiquaries, these perforated pebbles have been regarded as weights, for sinking nets, or for some such purpose; but in most cases this is, I think, an erroneous view—firstly, because the majority of these implements show traces, at their extremities, of having been used as hammers; and, secondly, because if wanted as weights, there can be no doubt that the softer kinds of stone, easily susceptible of being pierced, would be selected; whereas these perforated pebbles are almost invariably of quartzite or some equally hard and tough material.

There are some instances, indeed, in which the perforation would appear to be almost too small for a shaft of sufficient strength to wield the hammer, if such it were; but even in such cases, where hard silicious pebbles have been used, they must, in all probability, have been intended for other purposes than for weights. I am inclined to think that some means of hafting, not now in use, may have been adopted in such cases, and that possibly the handles may have been formed of twisted hide or sinews, passed through the hole in a wet state, secured by knots on either side, and then allowed to harden by drying. Such hafts would be more elastic and tough than any of the same size in wood; but it must be confessed that there is no evidence of their having been actually employed, though there is of the stones having been in use as hammers. I have an Irish specimen, 33/4 inches long, with the perforation tapering from about 13/4 inch diameter on either side, to less than 1/2 an inch in the middle, and yet each end of the stone is worn away by use, to the extent of 1/4 inch below the original oval contour. It is possible that these deep cavities may have been intended to assist in keeping a firm hold of the stone when used in the hand as a hammer without any shaft, in the same manner as did the shallow indentations, which occasionally occur on the faces of pebbles which thus served; but this is hardly probable when the cavities meet in the centre to form a hole exactly like the ordinary shaft-holes, except in its disproportionately small size. It is worthy of notice, that even in axe-hammers the shaft-hole appears to be sometimes absurdly small for the size of the implement. I have a Danish specimen of greenstone, carefully finished, 63/4 inches long, and weighing 1 lb. 15 ozs. avoirdupois, and yet the shaft-hole is only 3/4 inch in diameter on either side, and but 1/2 an inch in the centre. The axe from Felixstowe, already mentioned, presents the same peculiarity.

It has been suggested that one of the methods of hafting these implements with the double bell-mouthed perforations, was by placing them over a branch of a tree, and leaving them there until secured in their position by the natural growth of the wood, the branch being then cut off at the proper places, and serving as a handle. I have, however, found by experience that even with a fast-growing tree, such a process requires two or three years at the least, and that when removed, the shrinkage of the branch in drying, leaves the hammer-head loose on its haft. Such a system of hafting would, moreover, imply a fixity of residence on the part of the savage owners of the tools, which appears hardly compatible with the stage of civilization to which such instruments are probably to be referred.

At the same time, it must be remembered that the Caribs of Guadaloupe and the Hurons are, as has been mentioned at page 155, credited with an analogous system of hafting imperforate hatchets.

It has also been suggested that some of these pierced stones were offensive weapons, having been attached by a thong of leather to a handle,[1] and used as "flail-stones," after the manner of the "morning-stars" of the middle ages. Such a method of mounting, though possible, appears to me by no means probable in the majority of cases, though among the Eskimos[2] a weapon has been in use, consisting of a stone ball with a drilled hole, through which a strip of raw hide is passed to serve as a handle.
Fig. 144.—Balmaclellan.



Fig. 145.—Thames, London. 1/2

The first specimen that I have selected for illustration, Fig. 144, might, with almost equal propriety, have been placed among the perforated axes, though it has three blunt edges instead of one or two. It was found at Balmaclellan, in New Galloway, and is now in the National Museum at Edinburgh. It is of very peculiar triangular form, 11/2 inches in thickness, and with a perforation expanding from an inch in diameter in the centre, to 13/4 inches on each side. An engraving of it is given in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.[3] This I have here reproduced on a larger scale, so as to correspond in its proportions with the other woodcuts.

A curious hammer, of brown hæmatite, not quite so equilateral as the Scotch specimen, and much thicker in proportion, found in Alabama, has been engraved by Schoolcraft.[4] The holes, from each side, do not meet in the middle.

The specimen shown in Fig. 145 was found in the Thames, at London, and is now in the British Museum. In form it is curiously like a metallic hammer, swelling out around the shaft-hole, and tapering down to a round flat face at each extremity. So far as I know, it is unique of its kind in this country. It is more probably the head of a war mace than that of an ordinary hammer. A somewhat similar hammer, of porphyry, is in the museum of the Deutsche Gesellschaft at Leipzig. It is, however, shorter in its proportions.

The Ancient Stone Implements Fig. 145a.—Kirkinner.png

Fig. 145a.—Kirkinner. 1/2

A stone hammer found at Claycrop, Kirkinner,[5] Wigtownshire, is by the courtesy of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, shown in Fig. 145a. In form, it is very like Fig. 136a from Wick, but blunter at the edge.

The instrument shown in Fig. 146 is perhaps more like a blunted axe-hammer than a simple hammer. It has at one end a much-rounded point, and at the other is nearly straight across, though rounded in the other direction. It would appear to be a weapon rather than a tool. It is formed of greenstone, and was found near Scarborough, being now in the museum at the Leeds Philosophical Hall. A similar form has been found in Italy.[6]

A beautifully finished hammer-head, cross-paned at both ends, and with a parallel polished shaft-hole, is shown in Fig. 147. It is of pale mottled green gneissose rock, with veins of transparent pale green, like jade, and was found in a barrow in Shetland. It is preserved in the National Museum at Edinburgh, where is also another of the same form, but broader and much more weathered, which was found at Scarpiegarth,[7] also in Shetland. Mr. J. W. Cursiter has another of these ruder examples (31/2 inches) from Firth. He has also a very highly polished specimen made of serpentine (4 inches) subquadrate in section, and with hemispherical ends, from

Fig. 146.—Scarborough. 1/2 Fig. 147.—Shetland. 1/2

Lingrow, Orkney. The perforation is conical, being 1 inch in diameter on one face and only 1/2 inch on the other. A remarkably elegant instrument of this kind, formed of a quartzose metamorphic rock, striped green and white, and evidently selected for its beauty, is in the well-known Greenwell Collection. It was found in Caithness. It is polished all over, and 41/4 inches long, of oval section, with the ends slightly rounded. The shaft-hole is parallel, 1/2 inch in diameter, and about 3/4 inch nearer to one end than to the other. In the same collection is another specimen, rather more elongated in form, and of more ordinary material, found near Harome, in Yorkshire, in a district where a number of stone implements of rare types have been discovered. It is of clay-slate, 51/4 inches long, and of oval section. The shaft-hole tapers from 1 inch at the faces to 9/16 inch in the centre. A shorter hammer, of gneiss, 33/4 inches long, and of similar section, with a parallel shaft-hole 5/8 inch in diameter, was found near Blair-Drummond, and is now in the National Museum at Edinburgh. It has a thin rounded edge at one end, and is obtuse at the other, as if it had been broken and subsequently rounded over. The form occasionally occurs in the South of England. In the British Museum is a beautiful specimen (41/4 inches) from Twickenham, and another of more ordinary stone from the Thames, which was formerly in the Roots Collection.

Another polished hammer (of grey granite) with curved sides, and narrower at one end than the other, was found in a cairn in Caithness,[8] in company with a flint flake ground at the edge, some arrow-heads, and scrapers. By permission of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, it is shown in Fig. 148. A somewhat similar form of hammer has been obtained in Denmark.[9]

Fig. 148.—Caithness. 1/2 Fig. 149.—Leeds. 1/2

The hammer-head shown in Fig. 149 resembles the Shetland implements in character, though, besides being far less highly finished, it is shorter and broader, and shows more wear at the end. The hole, also, is not parallel, but tapers from both faces. It is stated to have been found 12 feet deep in gravel, while sinking for foundations for the works of the North-Eastern Railway in Neville Street, Leeds. It is formed of greenstone, and has all the appearance of having been made out of a portion of a celt.

I have a somewhat smaller hammer-head, of much the same form, from Reach Fen, Cambridge, which also seems to have been made from a fragment of a broken celt. I have seen one of the same kind, found near Brixham, in Devonshire.

I have another specimen, from Orwell, Wimpole, Cambs., in which a portion of an implement of larger size has also been utilized for a fresh purpose. In this case the sharper end of a large axe-head of stone, probably much like Fig. 131, having been broken off, the wedge-shaped fragment, which is about 3 inches long and 2 inches broad, has been bored through in a direction at right angles to the edge, and probably to the original shaft-hole, and a somewhat adze-like hammer-head has been the result, what was formerly the edge of the axe being rounded and battered.

Fragments of celts which, when the edge was lost, subsequently served as hammers, but without any perforation, have not unfrequently been found, both here and on the Continent. The Eskimo hammer, already mentioned, has much the same appearance and character as if it had been made from a portion of a jade celt.


Fig. 150.—Rockland. 1/2

The form of hammer shown in Fig. 150, may be described as a frustum of a cone with convex ends. The specimen here figured is of quartzite, and was found near Rockland, Norfolk. It is preserved in the Norwich Museum. The hole, as usual with this type, is nearly parallel. The lower half of a similar hammer, but of flint, 2 inches in diameter, and showing one-half of the shaft-hole, which is 5/8 inch in diameter, is in the British Museum. It came from Grundisburgh, Suffolk.

A more conical specimen, tapering from 23/8 inches to 17/8 inches in diameter, and 3 inches long, with a shaft-hole 7/8 inch in diameter within 3/4 inch of the top, is in the Greenwell Collection. It is of basalt, and was found at Twisel, in the parish of Norham, Northumberland.

Some rather larger and more cylindrical instruments of analogous form have been obtained in Yorkshire. One such, about 4 inches long, and with a small parallel shaft-hole about 3/4 inch in diameter, was found with an urn in a barrow at Weapon Ness, and is in the museum at Scarborough. With it was a flint spear-head or javelin-head. It is described as rather kidney-shaped in the Archæologia.[10] I have the half of another, made of compact sandstone, and found on the Yorkshire Wolds.

The same form occurs in Ireland, but the sides curve inwards and the section is somewhat oval. Sir W. Wilde[11] describes two such of polished gneiss, and a third is engraved in Shirley's "Account of Farney."[12] Sir William suggests that such implements were, in all probability, used in metal working, especially in the manufacture of gold and silver. Certainly, in most cases, they can hardly have been destined for any ordinary purposes of savage life, as the labour involved in boring such shaft-holes in quartzite, and especially in flint, must have been immense. It seems quite as probable that these were weapons as tools, and, in that case, we can understand an amount of time and care being bestowed on their preparation such as in modern days we find savages so often lavishing on their warlike accoutrements. Another argument in favour of these being weapons, may be derived from the beauty of the material of which they are sometimes composed. That from Farney is of a light green colour and nicely polished, and one in my own collection, found near Tullamore, King's County, is formed of a piece of black and white gneissose rock, which must have been selected for its beauty. One in the British Museum from Lough Gur is of black hornblende.


Fig. 151.—Heslerton Wold. 1/2

The type with the oval section is not, however, confined to Ireland. In the Greenwell Collection is a beautiful hammer of this class, which is represented in Fig. 151. It is made of a veined quartzose gneiss, and was found on Heslerton Wold, Yorkshire. As will be seen, it is somewhat oval in section. The sides are straight, but the faces from which the hole is bored are somewhat hollow. I have a specimen of the same form, but made of greenstone (3 inches), from the neighbourhood of Sutton Coldfield,[13] Warwickshire.

A barrel-shaped hammer (33/4 inches) was found on the hill of Ashogall,[14] Turriff, Aberdeenshire, and a rude triangular hammer on the Gallow Hill of Turriff.

A smaller hammer-head, curiously like those from Farney and Tullamore, both in form and material, was found with a small "food vessel" accompanying an interment near Doune,[15] Perthshire. It is 25/8 inches long, with a parallel shaft-hole 5/8 in diameter.

Another, of small-grained black porphyry, neatly polished, and about 31/4 inches long, similar in outline to Fig. 150, but of oval section, and little more than an inch in thickness, was dredged up in the Tidal Basin, at Montrose, and is preserved in the local museum.

A cylindrical hammer of grey granite (23/4 inches) only partially bored from both faces, was found in the parish of Glammis,[16] Forfarshire. Mr. J. W. Cursiter, of Kirkwall, has a beautiful specimen formed of striped gneiss (31/4 inches) with well-rounded ends, and the sides much curved inwards. It was found at Whiteness, Shetland. Another of his hammers (23/4 inches) with a parallel hole (7/8 inch) has the sides straight and is of oval section. It is of beautifully mottled gneiss.

Another variety, allied to the last, has an egg-shaped instead of a quasi-conical form; the shaft-hole being towards the small end of the egg. The specimen here engraved, Fig. 152, is apparently of serpentine, and was found at Hallgaard Farm, near Birdoswald, Cumberland. It is in the Greenwell Collection.

I have a smaller but nearly similar specimen in greenstone, from the neighbourhood of Flamborough, Yorkshire. The hole in this is more bell-mouthed than in the other specimen, and a little nearer the centre of the stone.

One of nearly similar form, but rather flatter on one face, 31/4 inches long, found in Newport, Lincoln, is engraved in the Archæological Journal.[17]

Another in size and shape, much like Fig. 152, was dug up at Llanrhaiadr-yn-Mochnant, Montgomeryshire.[18] Another in the British Museum came from the neighbourhood of Keswick.

An egg-shaped hammer, 3 inches long, of mica schist, and found in the Isle of Arran,[19] is in the National Museum at Edinburgh. The shaft-hole is in the centre.

The Ancient Stone Implements Fig. 152.—Birdoswald.png

Fig. 152.—Birdoswald. 1/2

Sometimes these hammer-heads are, in outline, of an intermediate form between Figs. 151 and 152, being oval in section, and more rounded at the smaller end than the larger, which is somewhat flattened. One such, in the Christy Collection, is formed of granite, and was found at Burns, near Keswick, Cumberland. Another, of quartzite, 31/4 inches long, found on Breadsale Moor, is in the Museum at Derby. Neither of them presents the same high degree of finish as Fig. 151. They seem, indeed, to have been made from pebbles, which were but slightly modified in form by their conversion into hammer-heads.

Occasionally, though rarely, flint pebbles naturally perforated have been used as hammers. In excavating a barrow at Thorverton,[20] near Exeter, the Rev. R. Kirwan discovered a flint pebble about 33/4 inches long, with a natural perforation rather nearer one end than the other, but which on each face has been artificially enlarged. Each end of the pebble is considerably abraded by use. No other relics, with the exception of charcoal, were found in the barrow. Mr. Kirwan suggests that the stone may have been used by placing the thumb and fore-finger in each orifice of the aperture; but not improbably it may have been hafted. In the Museum at Copenhagen are one or two axes of flint, ground at the edge, but with the shaft-holes formed by natural perforations of the stone. And in M. Boucher de Perthes' Collection[21] were two hammer-heads, with central holes of the same character.

The beautiful and elaborately finished hammer-head found at Maesmore, near Corwen, Merionethshire, and now in the National Museum at Edinburgh, is to some extent connected in form with those like Fig. 152. It is shown in Fig. 153, on the scale of 1/2 linear, but a full size representation of it is given elsewhere.[22] It is of dusky white chalcedony, or of very compact quartzite, and weighs 101/2 ounces. "The reticulated ornamentation is worked with great precision, and must have cost great labour. The perforation for the haft is formed with singular symmetry and perfection; the lozengy grooved decoration covering the entire surface is remarkably symmetrical and skilfully finished." The Rev. E. L. Barnwell,[23] who presented

The Ancient Stone Implements Fig. 153.—Maesmore, Corwen.png

Fig. 153.—Maesmore, Corwen.

it to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, has observed that "the enormous amount of labour that must have been bestowed on cutting and polishing, would indicate that it was not intended for ordinary use as a common hammer." "Some have considered it as the war implement of a distinguished chief; others, that it was intended for sacrificial or other religious purpose, or as a badge of high office." Other conjectures are mentioned which it is needless to repeat. My own opinion is in favour of regarding it as a weapon of war, such as, like the jade mere of the New Zealander, implied a sort of chieftainship in its possessor. At the time of its discovery it was unique of its kind. But since then a second example has been found, though in an unfinished condition,[24] at Urquhart, near Elgin, and has also been placed in the museum at Edinburgh. It is rather smaller, but of similar type and material to the Welsh specimen. The shaft-hole is finished, but the boring process has not been skilfully carried out, the meeting at the centre of the holes bored from either face not having been perfect; and though the hole has been made straight by subsequent grinding out, there is still a lateral cavity left. The faceted pattern is complete at the small end, and commenced on both sides. Along the edge of the face small notches are ground, showing the manner in which the pattern was laid out before grinding the hollow facets.

A third but ruder example of the same kind was found in the Thames, at Windsor,[25] and was exhibited to the Society of Antiquaries in 1895 by Mr. F. Tress Barry, F.S.A., who has kindly presented it to me. It is of nearly the same size as the others, but the perforation is natural, and there is no attempt at ornamentation, though much of the surface has been ground in irregular facets.

The end of a naturally perforated flint nodule from Aldbourne, Wilts, in the collection of Mr. J. W. Brooke, seems to be part of a hammer. It is neatly faceted like the nucleus, Fig. 189, and has been rounded by grinding. The hole has been partially ground.

A very peculiar hammer, discovered by Sir Richard Colt Hoare,[26] in Bush barrow, near Normanton, Wilts, is reproduced in Fig. 154. It lay on the right side of a skeleton, which was accompanied by a bronze celt

The Ancient Stone Implements Fig. 154.—Normanton, Wilts.png

Fig. 154.—Normanton, Wilts. 1/2

without side flanges, a magnificent bronze dagger, the handle of which was ornamented with gold, a lance-head of bronze, and a large lozenge-shaped plate of gold. The hammer-head is "made out of a fossil mass of tubularia, and polished, rather of an egg form," or "resembling the top of a large gimlet. It had a wooden handle, which was fixed into the perforation in the centre, and encircled by a neat ornament of brass, part of which still adheres to the stone." As it bore no marks of wear or attrition, Sir Richard hardly considered it to have been used as a domestic implement, and thought that the stone as containing a mass of serpularia, or little serpents, might have been held in great veneration, and therefore have been deposited with the other valuable relics in the grave. Judging from the other objects accompanying this interment, it seems more probable that this hammer was a weapon of offence, though whether the material of which it was formed were selected from any superstitious motive, rather than for the beauty of the stone, may be an open question. I have already mentioned instances of serpula[27] limestone having been employed as a material for celts of the ordinary character. The hole in this instrument appears to be parallel, and may possibly have been bored with a metallic tool. The occurrence of this hammer in association with such highly-finished and tastefully-decorated objects of bronze and gold, shows conclusively that stone remained in use for certain purposes, long after the knowledge of some of the metals had been acquired.

The hammer-heads of the next form to be noticed are of a simpler character, being made from ovoid pebbles, usually of quartzite, by boring shaft-holes through their centres. The specimen I have selected for illustration, Fig. 155, is in my own collection, and was found in

The Ancient Stone Implements Fig. 155.—Redgrave Park.png

Fig. 155.—Redgrave Park. 1/2

Redgrave Park, Suffolk. It is said to have been exhumed ten feet below the surface, by men digging stone in Deer's Hill. The pebble is of quartzite, probably from one of the conglomerates of the Trias, but more immediately derived from the gravels of the Glacial Period, which abound in the Eastern Counties. The hole as usual tapers towards the middle of the stone. The pebble is battered at both ends, and slightly worn away by use. I have a rather smaller, and more kidney-shaped hammer, also slightly worn away at the ends, found at Willerby Carr, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, and one (4 inches), that is considerably worn at both ends, from Stanifield, Bury St. Edmunds. An example was found at Normandy,[28] near Wanborough, Surrey. I have seen one formed from a sandstone pebble (41/2 inches) found near Ware.


Fig. 156.—Redmore Fen. 1/2

In the Greenwell Collection is a large specimen, made from a flat pebble (71/2 inches) obtained at Salton, York, N.R.

Fig. 156 shows a smaller variety of the same type, but rather square in outline, and with the shaft-hole much more bell-mouthed. The original is in my own collection, and was found in Redmore Fen, near Littleport, Cambridgeshire. I have others from Icklingham (23/8 inches) and Harleston, Norfolk (31/4 inches). Hammers of this and the preceding type are by no means uncommon. Mr. Joshua W. Brooke has one (31/4 inches) from Liddington, Wilts. One of quartzite, 5 inches long, was found in a vallum of Clare Castle, Suffolk,[29] and is in the Museum of the Society of Antiquaries; another (41/2 inches) at Sunninghill, Berks;[30] another (21/2 inches) near Reigate.[31] One, in form like Fig. 156 (41/4 inches), was discovered in Furness.[32] Others were found at Pallingham Quay,[33] and St. Leonard's Forest,[34] Horsham (5 inches), both in Sussex. What seems to be a broken hammer (25/8 inches) and not a spindle-whorl was obtained at Mount Caburn,[35] Lewes. Another, circular in outline, and 3 inches in diameter, was found at Stifford,[36] near Grays Thurrock, and is engraved in the Archæological Journal.[37] I have here reproduced the figure (Fig. 157), though the scale is somewhat larger than that of my other illustrations.


Fig. 157.—Stifford.

In the British Museum is a specimen, originally about 31/2 inches by 21/4 inches, and 3/4 inch thick, with the end battered, which was found in a tumulus at Cliffe, near Lewes. Another, 33/4 inches in diameter, from the Thames; a subtriangular example from Marlborough (41/4 inches); and an oval one (37/8 inches) from Sandridge, Herts, are in the same collection.

A longer form (61/4 inches by 31/8) was found at Epping Uplands, Essex,[38] and another about 5 inches, rather hoe-like in form, in the Lea, at Waltham. Another (41/2 inches) was found in London.[39]

In the Norwich Museum are two hammer-heads of this type, one from Sporle, near Swaffham (31/8 inches), of quartzite; and the other of jasper, from Eye, Suffolk, 5 inches by 23/4 inches. In the Fitch Collection are also specimens from Yarmouth (31/2 inches), from Lyng (5 inches), and Congham, Norfolk (6 inches), as well as a fragment of one found at Caistor.

The late Mr. Warren, of Ixworth, had one from Great Wratting, near Haverhill (4 inches), and the late Mr. James Carter, of Cambridge, one 31/4 inches in diameter, from Chesterton.

In the Museum of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society is one of irregular form, found near Newmarket. A thin perforated stone, 6 inches by 3 inches, from Luton,[40] in Bedfordshire, may belong to this class, though it was regarded as an unfinished axe-head.

In the collection formed by Canon Greenwell is one found at Coves Houses, Wolsingham, Durham (31/2 inches), and another of quartzite (41/2 inches), with both ends battered, from Mildenhall Fen. He discovered another of small size, only 21/4 inches in length, with the perforation not more than 7/16 inch in diameter in the centre, in the soil of a barrow at Rudstone,[41] near Bridlington.

The late Mr. H. Durden, of Blandford, had two fragments of these hammers, made from quartzite pebbles, one of them from Hod Hill, Dorset, and the other from the same neighbourhood. A perforated oval boulder of chert was also found near Marlborough.[42]

Both round and oval hammer-stones are in the Leicester Museum.[43] One (61/2 inches) was found at Doddenham, Worcestershire, and others (33/8 inches) at Silverdale,[44] Torver,[45] and elsewhere in Lancashire.[46] A large specimen (8 inches) was found at Abbey Cwm Hir,[47] Radnorshire, and a small one near Rhayader,[48] Montgomeryshire. A circular example (41/4 inches), with a very small central hole, was discovered in Pembrokeshire.[49] Quartzite pebbles converted into hammer-heads occur also in Scotland. The hole in one from Pitlochrie[50] is only 1/8 inch in diameter at its centre. In one from Ythanside, Gight,[51] Aberdeenshire (43/4 inches), it is only 1/4 inch.

Besides quartzite and silicious pebbles, these hammer-heads were made from fragments of several other rocks. The Rev. S. Banks had one of greenstone, 53/4 inches by 31/4 inches, found at Mildenhall. A disc of dolerite[52] (4 inches) with convex faces and perforated in the centre in the usual manner, was found at Caer Leb, in the parish of Llanidan, Anglesea. Several hammer-stones of this kind were obtained by the late Hon. W. O. Stanley, M.P., in his researches in the Island of Holyhead.[53] One of them, now in the British Museum, is of trap, 41/2 inches long and 3 inches broad, somewhat square at the ends; another is of schist, 33/8 inches long, and much thinner in proportion. Both were found at Pen-y-Bonc. A fragment of a third, formed of granite (?), was found at Ty Mawr, in the same island. One of granite (?}[54] was found at Titsey Park, Surrey. A small one of "light grey burr stone," 23/8 inches in diameter, was found at Haydock,[55] near Newton, Lancashire. I have a subquadrate example (4 inches) of felsite, from Belper, Derbyshire. The Scottish specimens are often of other materials than quartzite. A circular "flailstone," found at Culter, Lanarkshire, has been figured,[56] but the material is not stated. The same is the case with an oval one, 4 inches long, found near Longman,[57] Macduff, Banff; another from Forfarshire;[58] and a third, 4 inches by 3 inches, from Alloa.[59]

Others from Portpatrick[60] (63/4 inches), and from a cist at Cleugh,[61] Glenbervie, Kincardineshire, have been figured. I have a disc (3 inches), nearly flat round the circumference like a Danish "child's wheel" from Ballachulish, Inverness. It is formed of hornblendic gneiss. A hammer-stone of this kind from Poyanne, Landes,[62] has been recorded.

Some of these circular pebbles may have formed the heads of war-maces, such as seem to have been in use in Denmark in ancient times and in a modified form, among various savage tribes in recent days.


Fig. 158.—Sutton. 1/2

A curious variety of this type, flat on one face and convex on the other, is shown in Fig. 158. It is made from a quartzite pebble, that has in some manner been split, and was found at Sutton, near Woodbridge. It is now in the collection of General Pitt Rivers, F.R.S.

In the Christy Collection is another implement of much the same size, material, and character, which was found at Narford, Norfolk. The ends are somewhat hollowed after the manner of a gouge, but the edges are rounded. It seems to occupy a sort of intermediate position between a hammer and an adze.

One of similar, but more elongated form, found at Auquemesnil[63] (Seine Inférieure), has been figured by the Abbé Cochet.

It is difficult to say for what purpose hammers of this perforated kind were destined. I can hardly think that such an enormous amount of labour would have been bestowed in piercing them, if they had merely been intended to serve in the manufacture of other stone implements, a service in which they would certainly be soon broken. If they were not intended for weapons of war or the chase, they were probably used for lighter work than chipping other stones; and yet the bruising at the ends, so apparent on many of them, betokens their having seen hard service. We have little, in the customs of modern savages, to guide us as to their probable uses, as perforated hammers are almost unknown among them. The perforated spheroidal stones of Southern Africa[64] act merely as weights to give impetus to the digging sticks, and such stones are said to have been in use in Chili[65] and California.[66] The perforated discs of North America appear to be the fly-wheels of drilling sticks. Some quartz pebbles perforated with small central holes, and brought from the African Gold Coast,[67] seem to have been worn as charms.

In Ireland, perforated hammer-stones are much more abundant than in England. They are usually formed of some igneous or metamorphic rock, and vary considerably in size, some being as much as 10 or 12 inches in length. Sir W. Wilde observes that stone hammers, and not unfrequently stone anvils, have been employed by smiths and tinkers in some of the remote country districts until a comparatively recent period. If, however, these hammers were perforated, there can be but little doubt that they must have been ancient tools again brought into use, as the labour in manufacturing a stone hammer of this kind would be greater than that of making one in iron, which would, moreover, be ten times as serviceable. If, however, the stone hammers came to hand ready made, they might claim a preference. For heavy work, where iron was scarce, large mauls, such as those shortly to be described, might have been in use rather than iron sledges; but the more usual form of stone hammer would probably be a pebble held in the hand, as is constantly the case with the workers in iron of Southern Africa. Even in Peru and Bolivia, the late Mr. David Forbes, F.R.S., informed me that the masons skilful in working hard stone with steel chisels, make use of no other mallet or hammer than a stone pebble held in the hand. The anvils and hammers used in Patagonia[68] in working silver are generally of stone, but the latter are not perforated.

In Germany, as already[69] incidentally remarked, anvils formed of basalt were in frequent use in the sixteenth century.

In Scandinavia and Germany the same forms of hammers as those found in the British Isles occur, both in quartzite and in other kinds of stone. They are not, however, abundant. Worsaae does not give the type in his "Nordiske Oldsager," and Nilsson gives but a single instance.[70] Lindenschmit[71] engraves a specimen from Oldenstadt, Lüneburg, and another from Gelderland.[72]

In Switzerland they are extremely rare. In the Neuchâtel Museum, however, is a perforated hammer, formed from an oval pebble, and found in the Lake-habitations at Concise; another, 2 inches in diameter, with a small perforation deeply countersunk on each face, has been regarded by M. de Mortillet[73] as a sink-stone for a net.

I have a lenticular mace-head, 3 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick, formed of a silicious breccia from Pergamum. The hole tapers from 3/4 inch to 1/2 inch.

The half of a small perforated hammer made of greenstone and polished is recorded to have been found at Arconum,[74] west of Madras. A perforated stone, possibly a hammer, was found in the Jubbulpore district, Central India;[75] and a fine example from the Central Provinces,[76] rather more oval than Fig. 157, has been figured by the late Mr. V. Ball.

In the British Museum is a perforated ball of hard red stone of a different type from any of those which I have described, which came from Peru. It is about 3 inches in diameter, with a parallel hole an inch across. Around the outside are engraved four human faces, each surmounted by a sort of mitre. It may be the head of a mace.

Spherical mace-heads of marble and of harder rocks occur among Egyptian antiquities. They are sometimes decorated by carving.

In this place perhaps it will be well to mention a class of large hammer-stones, or mauls, as they have been termed, which, though belonging to a period when metal was in use, are in all probability of a high degree of antiquity. They consist, as a rule, of large oval pebbles or boulders, usually of some tough form of greenstone or grit, around which, somewhere about the middle of their length, a shallow groove has been chipped or "picked," from 3/4 inch to 1 inch in width. On the two opposite sides of the pebble, and intersecting this groove, two flat or slightly hollowed faces have often been worked, the purpose of which is doubtless connected with the method of hafting the stones for use as hammers. This was evidently by means of a withe twisted round them, much in the same manner as a blacksmith's chisel is mounted at the present day. In the case of the mauls, however, the withe appears to have been secured by tying, like the haft of one form of Australian stone hatchets (Fig. 105), and then to have been tightened around the stone by means of wedges driven in between the withe loop and the flat faces before mentioned.

A[77] German stone axe seems to have been fastened to its haft in the same manner.

In many of the Welsh specimens about to be mentioned, the flat faces are absent, and the notch or groove does not extend all round the stone, but exists only on the two sides through which the longer transverse axis of the pebble passes. In this case the wedges, if any, were probably driven in on the flatter side of the boulder.

The ends of the pebbles are usually much worn and broken by hammering, and not unfrequently the stone has been split by the violence of the blows that it has administered. It is uncertain whether they were merely used for crushing and pounding metallic ores, or also in mining operations; but with very few exceptions they occur in the neighbourhood of old mines, principally copper-mines.

In some copper mines at Llandudno,[78] near the great Orme's Head, Carnarvonshire, an old working was broken into about sixty years ago, and in it were found a broken stag's horn, and parts of what were regarded as of two mining implements or picks of bronze, one about 3 inches and the other about 1 inch in length. In 1850, another ancient working was found, and on the floor a number of these stone mauls, described as weighing from about 2 lbs. to 40 lbs. each. They had been formed from water-worn boulders, probably selected from the beach at Pen-maen-mawr. One of the mauls in the Warrington Museum[79] is 65/8 inches long, and weighs 3 lbs. 14 ozs. One of basalt, measuring nearly a foot in length, was found in ancient workings at Amlwch Parys Mine,[80] in Anglesea. Others have been discovered in old workings in Llangynfelin Mine,[81] Cardiganshire, and at Llanidan,[82] Anglesea.

A ponderous ball of stone, about 5 inches in diameter, probably used in crushing and pounding the ore, a portion of stag's horn, fashioned so as to be suited for the handle of some implement, and an iron pick-axe, were found in some old workings in the Snow Brook Lead Mines, Plinlimmon, Montgomeryshire.[83]

Two of these hammer-stones, 41/2 and 5 inches in length, were obtained by the late Hon. W. O. Stanley, within hut circles, possibly the remains of the habitations of copper miners in ancient times, at Ty Mawr, in the Island of Holyhead. Some of these mauls are figured in the Archæological Journal,[84] and are of much the same form as Fig. 159, the original of which probably served another purpose. Others of the same character, formed of quartzite, were found at Pen-y-Bonc,[85] Holyhead, and Old Geir,[86] Anglesea. They have also been found at Alderley Edge,[87] Cheshire.

A boulder, like those from Llandudno, but found at Long Low, near Wetton, Staffordshire, is in the Bateman Collection.[88] One from Wigtownshire[89] has been regarded as a weight.

They are of not uncommon occurrence in the south of Ireland,[90] especially in the neigbourhood of Killarney, where, as also in Cork, many of them have been found in ancient mines. They have, in Ireland, been denominated miners' hammers. One of them is engraved in "Flint Chips."[91] I have seen an example from Shetland.

They have also been found in ancient copper mines in the province of Cordova,[92] at Cerro Muriano, Villanueva del Rey,[93] and Milagro, in Spain; in those of Ruy Gomes,[94] in Alemtejo, Portugal; and at the salt mines of Hallstatt,[95] in the Salzkammergut of Austria, and at Mitterberg,[96] near Bischofshofen.

A large hammer of the same class, but with a deeper groove all round, has been recorded from Savoy.[97]

They are not, however, confined to European countries, for similar stone hammers were found by Mr. Bauerman in the old mines of Wady Maghara,[98] which were worked for turquoises (if not also for copper ore) by the ancient Egyptians, so early as the third Manethonian Dynasty. It is hard to say whether the grooved stone found by Schliemann at Troy[99] was used as a hammer or a weight.

What is more remarkable still, in the New World similar stone hammers are found in the ancient copper mines near Lake Superior.[100] As described by Sir Daniel Wilson,[101] "many of these mauls are mere water-worn oblong boulders of greenstone or porphyry, roughly chipped in the centre, so as to admit of their being secured by a withe around them." They weigh from 10 to 40 lbs., and are found in enormous numbers. M. Marcou[102] has given an account of the discovery of some of these mauls in the Mine de la Compagnie du Nord-Ouest, at Point Kievenau, Lake Superior. He describes them as formed of leptynite (quartz and felspar), quartz, and porphyry, and weighing from 5 to 8 lbs. each; and mentions having seen one of quartz weighing about 5 lbs., which was in the possession of some Kioway Indians, and was bound to a handle with a strip of bison skin.

This similarity or identity in form of implements used in countries so wide apart, and at such different ages, does not, I think, point of necessity to any common origin, nor to any so-called "continuity of form," but appears to offer another instance of similar wants with similar means at command, resulting in similar implements for fulfilling those wants. Grooved hammers for other purposes, as evinced by their smaller size, and a few grooved axes, occur in Scandinavia. An example among one of the lower races in modern times is afforded by a large crystal of quartz, with its terminal planes preserved at both ends, which has been slightly grooved at the sides for the purpose of attaching it to a handle, and was brought by Captain Cook, from St. George's Sound, where it appears to have been used as a hammer or pick. It is now in the British Museum, and has been described by Dr. Henry Woodward.[103]

Even in Britain the hammer-stones of this form are not absolutely confined to mining districts. Canon Greenwell, in one of the barrows at Rudstone,[104] near Bridlington, found on the lid of a stone-cist two large greenstone pebbles 8 and 93/4 inches long, each with a sort of "waist" chipped in it, as if to receive a withe, and having marks at the ends of having been in use as hammers.

Closely connected in form and character with the mining hammers, though as a rule much smaller in size, and in all probability intended for a totally different purpose, is the class of stone objects of one of which Fig. 159 gives a representation, reproduced from the Archæological Journal.[105] This was found in company with two others at Burns, near Ambleside, Westmorland; and another, almost precisely similar in size and form, was found at Percy's Leap, and is preserved at Alnwick Castle. Another, from Westmorland, is in the Liverpool Museum, and they have, I believe, been observed in some numbers in that district. A stone of the same character, but more elaborately worked, having somewhat acorn-shaped ends, was found by the late Hon. W. O. Stanley, at Old Geir,[106] Anglesea. Others from Anglesea,[107] one of them ornamented, have been figured. They were originally regarded as hammer-stones, but such as I have examined are made of a softer stone than those usually employed for hammers, and they are not battered or worn at the ends. It is, therefore, probable that they were used as sinkers for nets or lines, for which purpose they are well adapted, the groove being deep enough to protect small cord around it from wear by friction. They seem also usually to occur in the neighbourhood either of lakes, rivers, or the sea. A water-worn nodule of sandstone, 5 inches long, with a deep groove round it, and described as probably a sinker for a net or line, was found in Aberdeenshire,[108] and is in the National Museum at Edinburgh; and I have one of soft grit, and about the same length, given me by Mr. E. D. Darbishire, F.G.S., and found by him near Nantlle, Carnarvonshire.

The Ancient Stone Implements Fig. 159.—Ambleside.png

Fig. 159.—Ambleside. 1/2

Many of these sink-stones are probably of no great antiquity. With two transverse grooves, they are still in use in Shetland.[109]

The Fishing Indians of Vancouver's Island[110] go out trolling for salmon in a fast canoe, towing behind them a long line made of tough seaweed, to which is attached, by slips of deer hide, an oval piece of granite perfectly smooth, and the size and shape of a goose's egg. It acts as a sinker, and is said to spin the bait. A net-sinker, formed of a pebble slightly notched or grooved, is among the antiquities from Lake Erie, engraved by Schoolcraft.[111] Others have been found in the State of New York.[112] See C. Rau's "Prehistoric Fishing."[113]

Sink-stones are by no means rare in Ireland, and continue in use to the present day. One of the same class as Fig. 159, but grooved round the long axis of the pebble, is engraved by Sir W. Wilde.[114] Similar stones occur in Denmark, and were regarded by Worsaae[115] as sink-stones, though some of them, to judge from the wear at the ends, and the hardness of the material, were used as hammers. I have seen, in Sweden, the leg bones of animals used as weights for sinking nets.

Another form of sink-stone, weight, or plummet, was formed by boring a hole towards one end of a flattish stone. Such a one, weighing 141/4 oz., was dredged from the Thames at Battersea.[116]

Another, of oval form, pierced at one end, from Tyrie,[117] Aberdeenshire, is in the National Museum at Edinburgh; and a wedge-shaped perforated stone from Culter, Lanarkshire,[118] was probably intended for the same purpose. These may have been in use for stretching the warp in the loom when weaving. They are found of this form with Roman remains.[119]

  1. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. xx. p. 102.
  2. Stevens, "Flint Chips," p. 499.
  3. Vol. vii. p. 385.
  4. "Indian Tribes," vol. iv. p. 168.
  5. P. S. A. S., vol. xvi. p. 57.
  6. Bellucci, "Mat. Paletn. dell' Umbria," Tav. xi. fig. 3.
  7. Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., vol. vi. p. 327.
  8. Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., vol. vii. p. 499.
  9. Ant. Tidsk., 1858-60, p. 277.
  10. Vol. xxx. p. 461.
  11. "Cat. Mus. R. I. A.," p. 80.
  12. P. 94. See also Arch. Journ., vol. iii. p. 94; and Worsaae's "Prim. Ants. of Den.," p. 15.
  13. Proc. Soc. Ant., 2nd S. vol. vii., p. 268.
  14. P. S. A. S., vol. ix. p. 155.
  15. Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., vol. ix. p. 39; xvii. p. 453.
  16. P. S. A. S., vol. xvi. p. 171.
  17. Vol. xxvii. p. 142.
  18. Montg. Coll., vol. xiv p. 275.
  19. Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., vol. v. p. 240.
  20. Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. iii. p. 497.
  21. "Ant. Celt, et Antéd.," vol. i. pl. xiii. 9, p. 327.
  22. Arch. Jour., vol. xix. p. 92. Arch. Camb., 3rd S., vol. vi. p. 307.
  23. Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., vol. vi. p. 43. See also Arch. Camb., 4th. S., vol. vii. p. 183.
  24. Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., vol. ix. p. 259.
  25. Proc. Soc. Ant., 2nd S., vol. xv. p. 349.
  26. "South Wilts," p. 204. "Cat. Devizes Mus., No. 150."
  27. Supra, p. 128.
  28. Surr. Arch. Coll., vol. xi. p. 248-9.
  29. Archæologia, vol. xiv. p. 281, pl. lv.; Cat., p. 14.
  30. Arch. Journ., vol. ix. p. 297.
  31. Arch. Journ., vol. x. p. 72.
  32. Archæologia, vol. xxxi. p. 452.
  33. Sussex Arch. Coll., vol. ix. p. 118.
  34. Sussex Arch. Coll., vol. xxvii. p. 181.
  35. Arch., vol. xlvi. p. 492, pl. xxiv. 22.
  36. Proc. Soc. Ant., 2nd S., vol. iii. p. 406.
  37. Vol. xxvi. p. 190.
  38. Essex Nat., vol. viii. p. 164.
  39. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. xxix. p. 77.
  40. Proc. Soc. Ant., 2nd S., vol. ii. p. 400.
  41. "Brit. Barrows," p. 248.
  42. Arch. Journ., vol. xxv. p. 250.
  43. Rep. Leic. lit. and Phil. Soc., 1878, pl. iii.
  44. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. xxix. p. 305.
  45. Tr. Cumb. and West. Ant. Soc., vol. ix. p. 203.
  46. Tr. Lane. and Ch. Ant. Soc., vol. ii. pl. i.
  47. Arch. Camb., 5th S., vol. xii. p. 247.
  48. Op. cit., p. 249.
  49. Arch. Camb., 5th S., vol. v. p. 315.
  50. P. S. A. S., vol. xx. p. 105.
  51. P. S. A. S., vol. xii. p. 183.
  52. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. xxii. p. 314. Arch. Camb., 3rd S., vol. xii. p. 212.
  53. Arch. Journ., vol. xxvi. p. 321; vol. xxvii. p. 147.
  54. Surrey Arch. Coll., vol. iv. p. 237; 1868, p. 24.
  55. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. xv. p. 233.
  56. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. xvii. pl. iv. p. 5.
  57. Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., vol. vi. p. 41.
  58. Ibid., vol. iii. p. 437.
  59. Ibid., vol. iv. p. 55.
  60. P. S. A. S., vol. xii. 568.
  61. Op. cit., p. 610.
  62. Rev. d'Ant. 1st S., vol. iv. p. 255.
  63. "Seine Inf.," 2nd ed., p. 313.
  64. Wood, "Nat. Hist. of Man," vol. i. p. 254. Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., vol. xi. p. 140.
  65. P. S. A. S., vol. xiv. p. 173.
  66. Rau. "Smithson. Arch. Coll.," p. 31.
  67. Sir J. Lubbock, in Journ. Anth. Inst., vol. i. p. xcv.
  68. Journ. Anthrop. Inst., vol. i. p. 198.
  69. Sup., p. 64.
  70. "Stone Age," pl. i. 12.
  71. "Alt. u. h. V.," vol. i. Heft i. Taf. i. 4.
  72. Op. cit., vol. i. Heft viii. Taf. i. 6.
  73. "Or. de la Navig., &c.," fig. 20.
  74. Trans. preh. Cong., 1868, p. 236.
  75. Proc. As. Soc. Beng., 1866, p. 135.
  76. Proc. As. Soc. Beng., Mar., 1874.
  77. Zeitsch. f. A. and E., vol. viii., 1876, pl. xxv.
  78. Arch. Journ., vol. vii. p. 68; Gent.'s Mag., 1849, p. 130.
  79. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. xv. p. 234.
  80. Arch. Journ., vol. vii. p. 69.
  81. Arch. Camb., 2nd S., vol. i. p. 331.
  82. Arch. Camb., 4th S., vol. v. p. 181.
  83. Arch. Journ., vol. xvii. p. 66.
  84. Vol. xxvi. p. 320, figs. 10 and 11.
  85. Arch. Journ., vol. xxvii. p. 161.
  86. Lib. Cit., p. 164.
  87. Journ. Anth. Inst., vol. v. p. 2.
  88. Cat., p. 28, No. 293.
  89. P. S. A. S., vol. xxiii. p. 213.
  90. "Cat. Mus. R. I. A." p. 85. The chisel-edged specimens there described are not improbably American.
  91. P. 557.
  92. Mortillet, "Matériaux," vol. iii. p. 98; vol. iv. p. 234. Tubino, "Estudios Prehistoricós," p. 100. Cartailhac, p. 202.
  93. Rev. Arch., vol. xiii. p. 137.
  94. Jorn. de Sci. Math. Phys. y Natur., 1868, pl. viii.
  95. Simony. "Alt. von Hallstatt." Taf. vi. 5.
  96. "Präh. Atlas." Wien, 1889, Taf. xix.
  97. Perrin, "Et. Préhist. sur la Savoie," pl. xv. 17.
  98. Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc., 1869, vol. xxv. p. 34.
  99. "Troy and its Remains," p. 97.
  100. Schoolcraft, "Indian Tribes," vol. i. p. 96; Squier's "Ab. Mon. of New York," p. 184; Lapham, "Ants, of Wisconsin," p. 74.
  101. "Prehist. Man," vol. i. pp. 246, 253.
  102. Comptes Rendus, 1866, vol. lxii. p. 470; Geol. Mag., vol. iii. p. 214; Mortillet, "Mat.," vol. ii. pp. 331, 401; vol. iii. p. 99.
  103. Brit. Assoc. Report, 1870, p. 158.
  104. Brit. Barrows, p. 239.
  105. Vol. x. p. 64.
  106. Arch. Journ., vol. xxvii. p. 164, pl. xi. 5.
  107. Arch. Camb., 4th S., vol. v. p. 181; ix. p. 34.
  108. Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., vol. vi. p. 209.
  109. P. S. A. S., vol. ix. p. 382; xii. p. 266. Mitchell, "Past in the Present," p. 124.
  110. Mem. Anthrop. Soc. Lond. vol. iii. p. 261.
  111. "Ind. Tribes," vol. ii. pl. 39.
  112. Op. cit., vol. ii. p. 90.
  113. 1884, p. 156 seqq., also Arch. f. Anth., vol. v. p. 262
  114. "Cat. Mus. R. I. A.," p. 95, fig. 77.
  115. "Nord. Oldsag.," fig. 88; Nilsson, "Stone Age," pl. ii. p. 34.
  116. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. xiv. p. 327.
  117. Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., vol. iv. p. 489.
  118. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. xvii. p. 19.
  119. See a paper on "Antike Gewicht-steine," by Prof. Ritschl, in the Jahrb. d. Ver. v. Alterthums-fr. im Rheinl., Heft. xli. 9; also xliii. 209.