By William McPeak The shafted ax has been around since 6000 bc, in both peaceful and warlike uses. The so-called battle-ax cultures (3200 to 1800 bc) extended over much of northern Europe from the late Stone Age through the early Bronze Age. The first ax heads were made of stone and used by hand; a wood handle known as the haft made ax wielding easier. Techniques of handle attachment included wedging, flanging, winging, and socketing. Socketing required the haft to be drilled with a hole to fit a shaped stone through the haft or on top of it. Many stony minerals were used for the head, and the edge was sharpened on both sides and double beveled. With the discovery of metals came the various work of accommodating axes for warfare. From rather blunt faces in rectangular shapes, the ax head took on the familiar, slightly convex front edge and tapered back to the blunted butt. By the Iron Age (1000 bc), the wedge-shaped iron ax head was the standard form, drilled near the butt for hafting. For warfare, the battle-ax was most efficient in a light design. Axes with double front and rear edges cropped up in some ancient cultures but, realistically speaking, were too heavy for real efficiency. The Francisca: Battle-Ax of the Franks The single-beveled edge head was soon develo


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