Some 5,300 years ago a man now called Ötzi was killed in the modern day Austrian Alps. Discovered in 1991, Ötzi “The Iceman” was found naturally mummified by the elements with a variety of artifacts preserved with his body including a copper ax. This tool dating back 53 centuries is a testament to the timeless design of the ax.
The Ötzi ax features a copper bit attached to a wooden handle with leather binding straps and tar. Interesting how the handle was selected from a piece of wood grown (or perhaps carved) at a right angle with a bulbous knob at the junction.
Production of the ax would have required great mastery of wood, metal and leather.
It’s rather amazing how precise the lines of the ax head are given it was made around 3,300 B.C.
While the ax has evolved over the millennia, with modern methods featuring carbon steel, larger axe heads with an eye, the basic design of a metal cutting edge set at a right angle affixed to a wooden handle has stood the test of time.
The Iceman’s copper axe is now located in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy.