Lambay Axe Factory


Lambay Island was a Neolithic axe factory. As well as stones being quarried here, they were also carved into “roughs” – and brought elsewhere for finishing. Between 1993-2001, there was a search in a valley on the western end of Lambay Island to search for evidence of the working of porphyritic andesite (porphyry) for stone axe production. This production was confirmed along with the placing Neolithic pottery and worked flint into sealed pits.

Archeologist Brian Dolan summarised his findigs by saying that the majority of the material from the island seems to fit into a broadly Neolithic/Bronze Age zone, indicating significant activity and possibly permanent or regular settlement on the island in these periods.

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Researching Lambay also opened my eyes to the work of archaeologists. I came across this thesis by Brian Dolan called: An Analysis of the Surface Flint Assemblage from Lambay Island, Co. Dublin.  I now know what Brian was doing for those ten minutes between 12:07 and 12:27 on the 25th April 2005.  He was looking for pebbles!! You can see below an extract of his log on this particular project.

Inventory Lambay Island of Pebbles

You simply have to admire the attention to detail and also the persistence and patience required to be an Archaeologist:

376 pebbles were collected in total. 337 or 90% of the pebbles measured below 4cm in maximum dimension and are therefore considered unusable except for bipolar working.
The overall distribution between beaches of all flint pebbles collected corresponds quite well with that of the ‘usable’ flint (see Chart 1). Beach 2 produced by far the most
pebbles at 145 or 39% of the entire assemblage, while Beach 4 produced the second largest amount at 77 pebbles, or 21% of the assemblage.

Then we see the level detail required to describe each piece of discovered flint:

Here is a collection of some of the pebbles that he had to sort:

And also some examples of flint stones that he managed to find


An Analysis of the Surface Flint Assemblage from Lambay Island, Co. Dublin




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