Head of a “bearded” battle-axe



1-piece iron. Rectangular socket drawn out slightly at top & bottom ends perpendicular to plane of blade, with near-flat butt. Short shank, of stout oblong section, & curves out along unsharpened back edges of blade. This is irregularly-triangular in form with slightly convex cutting edge having broad, blunt point at top & elongated on its lower half, terminated in truncated "beard." The axe is nearly identical to an example in the Museum of London (no. 32.55) recovered from the Thames at London Bridge (see London Museum catalogue cited), and that sold as part of lot 145 in the Curtis sale (see References above).

Curator's Comments

The London Museum catalogue suggests that the form is a derivative of the "Viking" type, and was evolved in England, but provides no evidence to support the latter.


Howard M. Curtis Collection, sale catalogue, Christie's (London), October 31, 1984, part of lot 145 (repr. in catalogue).

London Museum, "Medieval Catalogue" (London: H.M.S.O., 1940), pp. 63-5, fig. 15(3).

Publication & Exhibit History

Bashford Dean Collection (et al.), sale catalogue, American Art Association, New York, November 23/24, 1928, lot 169 (where it was given as "Merovingian, Northern France, VII-VIII Century").


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