La préhistoire en Lorraine
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Scotland's set of 6,000-year-old axeheads from the Italian Alps have gone on public display

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Scotland's set of 6,000-year-old axeheads from the Italian Alps have gone on public display

Message  Admin le Dim 23 Oct 2016 - 7:17

Scotland's set of 6,000-year-old axeheads from the Italian Alps have gone on public display
By Culture24 Reporter | 24 June 2016

Made out of alpine rock and extracted near prehistoric Turin and Genoa, Scotland's jade axeheads have come out of storage - along with a new sculpture

Artist Tim Pomeroy with his sculpture, Axehead, and the remarkable Greenlaw axehead that inspired him© Phil Wilkinson
Scotland’s national collection of Stone Age jade axeheads are rarely seen in public. Farming groups created them in the Italian Alps more than 6,000 years ago, using exquisite skill and transporting them to Scotland from northern France.

This Neolithic axe, made of polished stone, was found near Greenlaw in the 19th century© National Museums Scotland
Now Tim Pomeroy, an artist and stone carver based on the Isle of Arran, has made Axehead, a new stone sculpture designed to reflect the power, status and purpose of the ceremonial works.

© Tim Pomeroy
“These axeheads are works of both immense skill and of a highly developed, visual, manual and spiritual sophistication,” he says.

© National Museums Scotland
“As an artist, I am inspired by these qualities. I have always been interested in notions of utility, the Sacred, and power and how these properties combine within the contexts of art and ritual.”

Dr Alison Sheridan, Principal Curator of Early Prehistory in the Department of Scottish History and Archaeology, takes a look at a selection of the axeheads
They were valued beyond robust functionality. Neolithic people are thought to have linked mountains with the realm of gods, giving the pieces divine powers to protect and heal.

The Greenlaw beauty dates from 3800-3000 BC© National Museums Scotland
Tellingly, the two found in the Glenjorie Burn area may have been left there when the Dumfries and Galloway site was a loch. Other axeheads across the world have been found in water-covered locations, possibly suggesting that their carriers believed they were returning them to the gods.

  • Stone Age Jade from the Alps is at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh until October 30 2016. Visit National Museums Scotland’s blog for more.

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