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HER Number:MDV28355
Name:Axe under Torridge Bridge, Bideford


Axe head of Cornish greenstone dated to circa 2000BC recovered from the River Torridge during construction of the road bridge in 1985.


Grid Reference:SS 457 278
Map Sheet:SS42NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishNortham
Ecclesiastical ParishBIDEFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS42NE/139/1

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FINDSPOT (Early Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 1501 BC (Between))

Full description

Council for British Archaeology, 1972, Axe (Un-published). SDV359671.

Notes on a stone axe from Wales that looks similar to that found in the Torridge.

Creade, H., 1985, Finds (Illustration). SDV359672.

Drawings of finds made by Mr. Fowler in the River Torridge during excavation work for the bridge.

Metcalfe, T., 1985, Mud Yields Stone Age Axe Head (Article in Serial). SDV361532.

A Neolithic axe-head about 4000 years old has been found by a workman during the excavation of foundations for the Bideford Bridge.
The axe-head was preserved in a lump of clay dug from 12 metres below the river bed. It is made of Cornish greenstone and has a rounded butt with a flared cutting edge.
Experts at Exeter Museum believe that such as high quality tool may have been used at ceremonies. They confirmed that it had belonged to Neolithic hunters who established an encampment by the riverside.
Further samples of clay have also been found to contain ancient hazel nuts, twigs, bark and bones all evidence of a Stone Age campsite.

Unknown, 1985, New Bridge Link with Stone Age (Article in Serial). SDV359670.

Cornish greenstone axe, 20cm by 6cm, dated to circa 2000BC.

Griffith, F. M., 1985, Salvage Observations at Torridge Bridge (A39 Bideford Bypass). Interim Account (Report - non-specific). SDV338677.

During construction of the A39 road bridge over the River Torridge in 1985, a stone axe was found. Pecked/ground surface, probably Cornish greenstone. 20 centimetres long, 6 centimetres wide, cylindrical at butt and flared, as if like a metal axe, at blade end. Photographs in parish file. Axe retained by finder. Other details: Photographs and drawing.

Griffith, F. M., 1985, Stone Axe from Torridge Bridge (Photograph). SDV359673.

Griffith, F. M., 1985, Stone Axe from Torridge Bridge (Illustration). SDV359674.

Jones, J., 1989, Bideford, Devon (Report - Scientific). SDV347954.

Axe recovered from upper layers of estuarine clay, possibly dating to the Neolithic or Early Bronze Age.

Exeter Archaeology, 2006, Archaeological Assessment of the Appledore Fish Dock, Appledore, Northam, 2 (Report - Assessment). SDV338648.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV338648Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2006. Archaeological Assessment of the Appledore Fish Dock, Appledore, Northam. Exeter Archaeology Report. 06.103. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.
SDV338677Report - non-specific: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. Salvage Observations at Torridge Bridge (A39 Bideford Bypass). Interim Account. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV347954Report - Scientific: Jones, J.. 1989. Bideford, Devon. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV359670Article in Serial: Unknown. 1985. New Bridge Link with Stone Age. Bideford Gazette. Photocopy + Digital.
SDV359671Un-published: Council for British Archaeology. 1972. Axe. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV359672Illustration: Creade, H.. 1985. Finds. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV359673Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. Stone Axe from Torridge Bridge. Photograph (Paper) + Digital.
SDV359674Illustration: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. Stone Axe from Torridge Bridge. Photocopy + Digital.
SDV361532Article in Serial: Metcalfe, T.. 1985. Mud Yields Stone Age Axe Head. Western Morning News. 29/09/1985. Photocopy + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV28354Related to: Organic Deposits under Torridge Bridge, Bideford (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV3913 - AXE HEAD (Early Neolithic to Unknown - 4000 BC)

Associated Events

  • EDV4241 - Appledore Fish Dock, Northam

Date Last Edited:Jul 4 2018 3:41PM