Jadeite Axes

ca. 4.500–3.800 BC
Inventory Number
N120–N122, 1987.038

The neolithic axe blades made of the extremely rare jadeite are about 6,000 years old. The precisely cut and brilliantly polished axe blades were so highly prized in the 5th and 4th millennia BC that they not only made their way to Germany, Denmark and France, but to the British Isles as far as Scotland and Ireland. The quarries from which the gemstone was obtained are located in the mountains of the western Italian Alps, on Monte Viso in Piedmont and on Monte Beigua in Liguria. Monte Viso in Piedmont and Monte Beigua in Liguria. The blades, which in parts are very thin, could not be used to fell trees. It is believed that the shiny green stone had a mainly symbolic importance and were prestige objects. In the Rhineland they are thought to have been used by the people of the Neolithic “Michelsberg culture” that is known for its large settlements enclosed by earthwork walls and trenches as well as its flint quarries in the Aachen-Limburg region.


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