Page last updated at 14:22 GMT, Friday, 19 September 2008 15:22 UK

Axe heads donated to Manx museum

Copper axe heads
The artefacts will go on show at the Manx Museum in Douglas

Two copper axe heads and a blade dating back to around 2150 BC have been donated to an Isle of Man museum.

The Copper Age artefacts were found by metal detector enthusiast Rob Middleton, on land owned by David Anderson MHK in Patrick.

Only three or four such metal artefacts have ever been found on the island.

Research is to be carried out on the axe heads before they are permanently displayed in the Prehistoric Gallery at the Manx Museum in Douglas.

Mr Middleton said: "I'm thrilled these artefacts are being donated to Manx National Heritage for our national museum.

The possibilities for further research are good
Allison Fox, Manx National Heritage

"I was very excited when I discovered them, as I've spent many years searching for Bronze Age material.

"Searching last winter was extremely difficult due to wet conditions but I'm glad my perseverance paid off."

Allison Fox, curator for Manx National Heritage, praised Mr Middleton for not cleaning the soil from the artefacts before handing them in.

"The soil surrounding artefacts can often hold as much information as the artefacts themselves and acts as a protective layer for the surface of the object," she said.

"Due to his care, the possibilities for further research are good, enabling us to find out a little more about the point in time when the Isle of Man left the Stone Age and embraced the new technology of metal-working.

"We are very grateful to both Mr Middleton and Mr Anderson for all their assistance and generosity."

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