Archaeological Collection

Stone axes from Iron Age graves and Late Antique settlement

Stone axes from Iron Age graves and Late Antique settlement
Item name:Stone axes from Iron Age graves and Late Antique settlement
Dating:5th– 3rd millennium BC
On display:The Earliest Stories from the Crossroads


“Antiquarians” from the iron age and late antiquity

The five stone axes (top) were found in the iron age cemeteries excavated towards the end of the 19th century (also cf. Fig. 144). The modest field data of these early excavations do not reveal whether they came to light as grave goods or as stray finds, already lost in the neolithic or the copper age. As grave goods, they could be perceived as amu[1]lets that the people in the iron age found by chance and kept, possibly in superstition. The neolithic or copper age stone axe at the bottom of the photo was unearthed during the excavations at the late antique hilltop refuge at ajdovski gradec above vranje. The people living on ajdovski gradec carved a cross into the axe. Medie[1]val sources suggest that stone axes as ‘celestial’ or ‘thundery’ stones were unusual objects with magical, apotropaic, possibly even evil powers. It is feasible that the late antique inhabitants of the refuge carved the christian cross precisely to thwart these evil powers.


1. Flat axe, stone, l. 10.8 cm, Vače, Oak, inv. no. P 10709.
2. Shaft-hole axe, stone, l. 9 cm, Vinkov vrh, inv. no. P4700.
3. Flat axe, stone, l. 5.8 cm, Šmarjeta, inv. no. P 731.
4. Flat axe, stone, l. 3.7 cm, Vinji vrh, inv. no. P 4793.
5. Flat axe, stone, l. 4 cm, Vače, inv. no. P1.
6. Flat ax with incised cross, stone, l. 7.5 cm, Ajdovski Gradec above Vranje, inv. no. R 12132.

Further reading

Turk, Peter and Turk, Matija, 2019: The Earliest Stories from the Crossroads, Ljubljana, Fig. 207, pp. 163, 247.

On display in the Permanent Exhibition