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1944: Bronze Age weapon found in Cuckfield Garden

Mid Sussex Times - Wednesday 24 May 1944


By the courtesy of Mr H. Taylor, F. R.C.V.S. of Haywards Heath, extra chairman of the Cuckfield Urban District Council, we have been enabled to see a bronze palstave dug up in the garden of Mr Francis H Brett of Little Shaw, Copyhold Lane, Cuckfield.

Dr Orley has an allotment in the garden, and he was "digging for victory" there at an earlier stage of the war when he unearthed an unusual object, which looked like a small axe or adze.

Typical Middle Bronze age Palstave axe

A palstave is described as "a peculiar bronze adze, used in prehistoric Europe about the middle of the Bronze Age.”

Mr Taylor was shown the object and he sent it to Dr E. Cecil Curwen author of “The Archaeology of Sussex.” of Hove.

Dr Curwen states:- “It (the palstave) certainly is very similar to the one from Clapham, which I illustrated on page 168 of "The archaeology of Sussex," and, as you say, belongs to my type B dating from


Curiously enough, the length of the implement and the width of its cutting edge is as nearly as possible the same as the corresponding dimensions of the Clapham specimen, but your implement is slightly wider in its portion opposite the stopridge, so they cannot come from the same mould. The Clapham specimen is now, I think, at Lewes, so I have not got it here for direct comparison. Your specimen seems to have had the same parabolic curve decoration, but this has been put partially obliterated in the course of the long life of active use; in fact, it looks to me as if it had been deliberately filed away in places. Your specimen also shows traces of a bevelled cutting edge similar to that from Clapham, although not nearly so pronounced. It is a pity that the patina has been so extensively chipped. you will notice that the finder half shows several air bubbles in the casting . the weight is 1lb 0 and a half ounces”


followed the Stone Age and preceded the Iron Age, and it varied in point of time with different parts of the Globe. Copper was recognised as a malleable metal, and then as material capable of being melted and moulded into form by the application of heat. Crude ore was smelted so as to extract the metal, and metals were mixed in diverse proportions to prepare an alloy of requisite ductility and hardness according to the special aims of the Artificer. Weapons, tools utensils and ornaments were made of bronze, and the use this indicated a marvellous advance in the progress of civilisation and had its most important place among the nations of Europe and Asia. The Iron Age supplanted bronze by iron for the manufacture of arms, swordblades, spearheads, axes, daggers, knives and other articles.

In 1820 at Cuckfield, Dr Gideon Mantell, the eminent Sussex geologist, discovered in an old quarry near Mill Hill, the fossilised remains of the iguanodon, a monster of the antediluvian age, and the find aroused great interest in scientific circles



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