This ordinary-looking object might be familiar to many now that it's appeared on the recent Time Team Special TV programme which was searching for the site of the Battle of Hastings (below). It was found in 1951 during roadworks at the top of Marley Lane in 1951, where the Saxon front line would have been. An historical weapons expert in London has confirmed it as being the head of a Saxon battle-axe. This in
turn raised speculation that it could have been lost by a warrior at that fateful event. Indeed, the axe might even have been broken in the fray and such an occurrence is portrayed in the Bayeux Tapestry (left).
A replica axe on display in the Museum has been made in exactly the same way as the original was – the accompanying videos show how this was done and illustrate how it was used. Saxons would have wielded the formidable weapon against both men and horses – as the Saxons fought only on foot, they would have used axes to attack the horses and dismount the Norman knights.
The display also features a diorama which shows the key stages of the battle.