The Axe Replica

The object of this research and discovery is a prehistorical axe, mind you, this is not the original relic but already a replica. The ax replica is made out of plaster, probably made from a cast of the original axe. It is painted to look like stone by a professional. There are noticeable chips in the paint that reveal the white plaster underneath.

First picture presented to us of the object

Initial information

The axe is approximately 20cm×9cm long, two faced and has an oval shape. The original axe is from prehistoric times, the replica, on the other hand, is made in the 19th Century. Apparently according to Professor Maaike Roozenburg, the replica was requested by the director of the Zeeuws Genootschap collection, who then exchanged it with the original relic that he sold.

The original replica

The original ax replica is taken care of by the Royal Scientific Society of Zeeland. We were allowed access to most of our objects to analyze them and study them better during a visit to Erfgoed Zeeland. During our visit, curator and archeologist Aagje Feldbrugge guided us through the visit. I was able to take more accurate photos of the ax and of the other side as the photo I had based my research on shows only one face of the ax.

Photos of the original replica form the visit to the Erfgoed Zeeland

The axe was held in a bubble-rap bag with holes in it. It is probably an item considered having little value as the other items had precise labels and where well conserved while the ax had little protection and no labels. As it was already a plaster replica it was allowed to touch it with bare hands compared to other objects that required gloves and delicate handling.

The History of the Prehistorical Ax

A drawing representing how axes were usually held and handled

The Three Different Ideas

The question arises of how one could contribute or add value by doing a replica of an already replicated object. One could focus on the process required to make the original ax or how one then does the replica. Another aspect could be the historical setting of the ax, and from then expand into thinking about the different craft done in the same period of time: for example wall and cave paintings. Finally one could focus on the broken or deteriorating aspect of the replica, how it has important value that as a replica one can ruin as it is more accessible to touch and experience fully.

First idea of what could be done for a replica

The first idea included highlights the fact that it is a replica and it can be felt not only behind a glass window. What reveals that this piece is a replica are the chipped parts of the axe where the paint has come of and one can see the white plaster underneath. As such the value I find important to point out is the value of these cracks in an otherwise well-made replica.