Type:  Rectangular-Sectioned Adze

Location: Ukraine



MoST ID: 3411

Pedestal Link: https://une.pedestal3d.com/r/szP1HxI7qn

Model Author:  Emma Watt

This chert rectangular-sectioned adze is from Ukraine.  It dates to the Neolithic period, ca. 4000-7000 BP.

This small chert adze resembles rectangular-sectioned shoe-last adzes typical of the Linear Pottery culture to the west, and the flaking technology is similar to ‘thin-bladed’ axes and adzes found on Pitted-Comb sites to the north and northwest.  In Danish terminology, the tool has a ‘thick-butted’ morphology.  The faces of the adze were heavily ground to remove most of the flake scars, but the sides were not ground.  The artefact is considered an ‘adze’ because of the off-centre edge.  A collector in the recent past wrapped the adze in black dyed cord which left a residue when removed.

The Neolithic period in the forest-steppe biomes of Ukraine and neighbouring regions, ca. 4000-7000 BP, saw a complex series of archaeological cultures practicing a complex mixture of subsistence practices, including animal husbandry, agriculture, and hunter-gathering.  These included the Mariupol, Pitted-Comb, Bug-Dniester, and Cucuteni-Trypillia, among others.  The complex web of archaeological cultures in Central and Eastern Europe are identified according to differences in burial practices and material culture traits combined with chronological and geographical variations.

Adzes were hafted with the cutting edge at a right angle to the handle, in contrast to axes, which were hafted with the cutting edge parallel to the handle.  If the ground edge is closer to one face, rather than centred, archaeologists classify the artefact as an adze.  If the edge is centred, it is classified as an axe.

This adze was shaped by flaking on four main platform edges, each flaked bifacially to create a four-sided ‘quadrifacial’ tool.  This was accomplished using an indirect percussion technique.  In the indirect percussion technique the core face is unconstricted and flakes tend to end in feather terminations.  This is possible because the punch can be set on the platform at a more oblique angle than can be reliably achieved by direct percussion.  By doing this, the flakes can be prevented from ‘rolling over’ the centreline and removing the opposite platform edge.  Indirect percussion was independently innovated in Scandinavia and Northern Europe, Indonesia, and New Zealand to produce rectangular-sectioned stone axe blanks.  Rectangular-sectioned axes in Denmark are divided into ‘thin-butted’ and ‘thick-butted’ varieties depending on the thickness and treatment of the end opposite the cutting edge.  Thin-butted axes taper towards the butt to a sharp edge or low vertical edge, and thick-butted axes have the butt end squared-off in the same way as the edges, with less tapering towards the butt.