Stoneage Jade from the Alps…

Found in Scotland, these exquisite axeheads were made over 6,000 years ago, high in the Italian Alps. Now, thanks to a French-led project involving National Museums Scotland – Projet Jade – their fascinating story can be told.

Jade axeheads fact file

Date

Made over 6,000 years ago

Made from

Various kinds of Alpine rock – mostly jadeitite, omphacitite and eclogite

Made in

Extracted rock from Mont Viso, south-west of Turin and Mont Beigua above Genoa, Italy

On display

Stone Age Jade from the Alps display in Exhibition Gallery 4, Level 1, the National Museum of Scotland

Did you know?

These hard-won pieces of the mountains could have been regarded as having divine powers to protect and heal.

Green treasures from the magic mountains

Mont Viso, north Italy. Pierre Pétrequin © Projet Jade

These axeheads were not everyday tools for felling trees and chopping wood – they were sacred and precious ceremonial objects, made of rare jadeitite (commonly known as jade) and other special rocks.

Why were they so special? Neolithic people may have associated mountains with the world of the gods. These hard-won pieces of the mountains could have been regarded as having divine powers to protect and heal. Perhaps polishing them to a glassy sheen was believed to enhance these powers. Their luminous green colour may have symbolised immortality

Read more here:

http://www.nms.ac.uk/explore/stories/scottish-history-and-archaeology/stone-age-jade-from-the-alps/

Another related story here:

Examples of ground-edge hafted axes from Australia

A fragment of the world’s oldest known ground-edge axe has been found in the remote Kimberley region of northern Australia

Read more here:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-11/world’s-oldest-known-ground-edge-stone-axe-fragments-found/7401728

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