Elban Winged axes

Asce ad aletta tipo Elba - Museo Archeologico Marciana

The bronze winged axes from the Valle Gneccarina store are a typical artefact from the 8th century BC. These axes were characterised by their shape: they had a short heel and a barely distinguished shoulder. Most of the examples found are concentrated in the area around the town of Populonia (e.g. the Falda della Guardiola store, Populonia, second half of the 8th century BC), but there are also finds in the Bologna area (San Francesco store in Bologna), in Ardea and in northern Sardinia. Archaeologists have thus been able to obtain proof of the commercial traffic which Elba was involved in during this phase of the Iron Age, being at the centre of a route connecting the large Tyrrhenian islands with the inhabitants of the Po Valley.

The practice of depositing objects in stores also indicated the need to recycle metal objects, as they were rare, precious goods. The axes from Valle Gneccarina have clear signs of wear and tear showing that they were used before being deposited. Bronze casting, in fact, was widely practiced on Elba, but we know that on the island there were not many surface deposits of copper and tin was very scarce. These factors both stimulated trade to obtain raw materials and also favoured the practice of depositing damaged objects in stores for remelting.