This Neolithic flint tranchet axe is one of the nicest made examples of ANY location we have seen but coming from Sweden makes it especially scarce and desirable. To date, despite most of our work being in Europe, we have seen only a few Neolithic artifacts coming from Sweden. The TRANCHET AXE is a crude cutting axe made from a long shaped tranchet flake. A broad cutting edge left by the flake removal is often the result, The body of the axe is often extremely crude with the intention to embed the axe into a wooden handle for use. In most cases, incomplete, broken tranchet axes are found. This specimen is COMPLETE which makes it especially desirable, not to mention its much nicer than typical workmanship. Most unusual is that it was found in Sweden - a region where we have seen virtually no stone tools.
This axe features a prominent cutting edge that is intact. It has several iron traces on the patina surface indicating it was struck by a farming plow several times before being discovered, and was most certainly a farm field find as many Paleolithic and Neolithic artifacts are discovered in Europe. For collectors of rare source regions, this is a great collection addition and a classic reference specimen for the tranchet Axe typology of the European Neolithic Culture.
Human habitation of present-day Sweden began around 12000 BC. The earliest known people belonged to the Bromme culture of the Late Palaeolithic, spreading from the south at the close of the Last Glacial Period. Neolithic farming culture became established in the southern regions around 4000 BC, but much later further north.
Farming and animal husbandry, along with monumental burial, polished flint axes and decorated pottery, arrived from the Continent with the Funnel-beaker Culture in c. 4,000 BC. Whether this happened by diffusion of knowledge or by mass migration or both is controversial. Within a century or two, all of Denmark and the southern third of Sweden became neolithised and much of the area became dotted with megalithic tombs. Farmers were capable of rearing calves to collect milk from cows all year round. The people of the country's northern two thirds retained an essentially Mesolithic lifestyle into the first millennium BC. Coastal south-eastern Sweden, likewise, reverted from neolithisation to a hunting and fishing economy after only a few centuries, with the Pitted Ware Culture.
In 2,800 BC, the Funnel Beaker Culture gave way to the Battle Axe Culture, a regional version of the middle-European Corded Ware phenomenon. Again, diffusion of knowledge or mass migration is disputed. The Battle Axe and Pitted Ware people then coexisted as distinct archaeological entities until 2,400 BC, when they merged into a fairly homogeneous Late Neolithic culture. This culture produced the finest flintwork in Scandinavian Prehistory and the last megalithic tombs.