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Axe Really is Fabulous Find

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Axe really is fabulous find of history day A BRONZE Age axe head found in North Yorkshire was the oldest artefact handed in during a Fabulous Finds Day in York on Saturday.

The palstave axe dating from about 1,200BC was discovered on farmland north of Whitby by metal detector enthusiast Shaughan Tyreman.

Mr Tyreman, a service engineer on cranes, who has been metal detecting for 21 years, said: "It is the first one I have found. I have an 1862 book which is written in French, but has excellent illustrations.

"I recognised what it was straight away. It is a very similar in style to the axe head with the man they found in the ice in the Alps."

Mr Tyreman and his daughter, Saskia, 11, brought several items from their home in Whitby to be examined at the Yorkshire Museum, in York, during one of the Fabulous Finds Days held across England.

Mr Tyreman said: "In its day the axe would be an extremely expensive object. Few people would have one. All the rest would be using flint axes and if you had a bronze one it would be like owning a BMW. Probably 20 trees would have to be felled to smelt the ore to make it."

The axe and part of a mould, which has a floral pattern on one side and possibly a human face, will now be taken to the British Museum in London for specialist examination before being returned to Mr Tyreman.

The axe was of particular interest to Simon Holmes, who is the Yorkshire finds liaison officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which photographs and catalogues archaeological objects older than 1705.

He said: "In the three-and-a-half years I have been doing this job, I have probably seen only six Bronze Age implements."

Mr Holmes explained that the date of 1705 was chosen so that the national database was not overwhelmed.

"Anything after 1705 is the future's archaeology, but not the present's. If we put everything on the database we would overload the internet."

Metal detector fans are still in the majority of those using the scheme, but others are also interested in items they find in their gardens and elsewhere. For Museums and Galleries Month items taken to Fabulous Finds Days are being placed on the 24 Hour Museum website www.24hourmuseum.org.uk.

The Finder of the Year title will go to the person under 16 with the best story, rather than the one with the oldest, prettiest or most valuable object.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme operates at the Yorkshire Museum in York's Museum Gardens on the first Saturday in each month and at the Hull and East Riding Museum on the last Saturday. Details can be found on www.finds.org.uk

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