Polished Stone Axe
The polished stone axe is one of the most well know objects from the Neolithic period (c.4500-2500BC) when it was necessary to devise a tool to clear the forest of trees so that crops could be planted and animals enclosed within fields.
There has always been a great antiquarian interest in collecting these axes and in identifying where the main source of suitable stone existed. Although different types of stone could be used, outcrops of 'porcellanite' at Tievebulliagh near Cushendall and on Rathlin Ireland, proved the most popular.
Here, thousands of 'roughouts' were found which were intended to have been taken back to the Neolithic farmsteads to be ground and polished at leisure. The axe would be finally finished by adding a wooden handle, though examples of these are extremely rare.
While Armagh County Museum has some massive polished stone axes - too big to be used - the most famous hoard is from the Malone Road, Belfast which is on display in the Ulster Museum.
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