The long, elegant stock-hole axe type D1b is a Neolithic fine arm with ridge and is assigned by Malmer to the older class. According to this, it is to be dated in the 3rd/4th period (Malmer). shoulders and pointed oval neck cross section are typlical for the classification. It is still made with the solid drill. Type D1b can be described as a battle axe. The term boat axe is rejected by Malmer as not applicable. Proven by ceramics data already at the beginning of period 3. Type D1b is more long-lived, especially in the northern parts of the distribution area, and can still be verified there in period 4.
The shorter and wider shaft hole axe type C2 made of black stone belongs to the younger class according to Malmer. The curved narrow sides, which have no ridge on the top or bottom, are typical for the classification. Certainly proven for the beginning of period 4, axes of this type are also verified by ceramic data for period 3. Prevalent until period 5. The later axes type C3 are all already made with the tube drill.
Both battle axes, type D1b and C2, are known from the find spots in Skåne, Götaland, Gotland, Bornholm and the Oslo Stravanger area.
The term battle axe, however, is considered by Malmer as untenable, since such weapons cannot really be used in combat. They would cause only minor damage and the long wooden round bar needed to hold and swing the axe in combat would probably break quickly under low loads.
According to Malmer, these are rather two objects of prestige or power insignia within the group of the Swedish-Norwegian battle-axe culture. The presence of these axes in graves further supports this thesis. As precious, artistically crafted objects of great beauty, the battle axes of course referred to the rank of their bearer, both in life and in death.
Shank hole axes of type D1b and type C2 probably were not only a testimony of the high rank of their bearer, but also probably often had a predominantly symbolic character.
The Swedish-Norwegian battle-axe culture, erroneously called the Nordic boat-axe culture, corresponds to the Corded Ware culture. It thus already falls in a section of the European Copper Age. It is often assumed that the shaft hole axes in stone imitate specimens in metal. Especially the shaft holes seem to give rise to this thesis. According to Malmer, the seam, the ridge, which can be seen at the top and bottom of most of these shank hole axes, does not mean a metallic cast seam. If the stone axes really meant metal axes, they would probably have been even more valuable for the bearer, since it would have been more costly to produce them in stone than in metal, and they would not be destructible like copper axes, but indestructible forever.
In the 19th century, axe 1 of type D1b was already demonstrably in the collection of Lars Otto Johan Holst (1863-1936), a veterinarian who worked in Ronneby, southern Sweden, from about 1887. Holst was very interested in the prehistory of ancient Scandinavia, especially in the battle-axe culture. Like many other collectors of this period, Holst had a considerable, extensive collection of Early Stone Age artefacts. He did a lot of research and also searched himself in the vicinity of his home. However, Holst already bought many pieces in antique shops; also in Norway when he was travelling, especially at the company Henriques and Petersen in Osterstrasse 72, Copenhagen, which was known for antiques, art and jewellery trade at that time. Holst often received other Neolithic objects, especially those from the immediate vicinity of Ronneby, as payment for the work he did there as a veterinarian between 1887 and 1929.
Neolithic studies by Malmer
Boat axe / battle axe / Corded Ware culture
found before 1887
Property of finder
Collection of Lars Otto Johan Holst (1863-1936)
Received as payment for veterinary services (between 1887-1929)
From 1936 in the Holst family estate
Art market Sweden
1980s London art market
Axe 1 (type D1b) English private ownership until 2019
Axe 2 (type C2) Swedish private ownership until 2002
Private collection Austria until 2019