Metal Detectorist Discovers 6,000-Year-Old Neolithic Ax In Polish Forest

Published April 17, 2024

Researchers believe that the 6,000-year-old ax may have been used as a gift for the gods.

Polish Neolithic Ax

Lublin Provincial Conservator of Monuments/FacebookThe Neolithic ax discovered in Poland.

When Romuald Ościak set out with his metal detector recently to explore a forest in eastern Poland, he stumbled upon an astonishing discovery: the head of a 6,000-year-old copper ax.

The relic dates back to the Neolithic period, a time when humans first learned to develop agriculture. Now, researchers are hopeful that it will reveal more information about what life was like for Neolithic Europeans.

An Unlikely Discovery In A Polish Forest

Romuald Ościak is a member of the Historical and Ethnographic Association of Lublin Land Lovers. Ościak had previously made several other discoveries while metal detecting in the area. Just in the last few months, he discovered a sickle from the Bronze Age, a medieval battle ax, and 27 coins from the reign of King John II Casimir Vasa.

On April 7, Ościak set out to explore the forest near Siennica Różana, a town in eastern Poland. It’s not uncommon for metal detectorists to find artifacts from the World Wars in the area. However, this time, Ościak discovered something much more significant: an ancient copper ax.

The trapezoidal blade was about six inches long with a fan-shaped edge and rectangular head. In total, it weighed about a pound and a half, according to a Facebook post from the Lublin Provincial Conservator of Monuments. When Ościak handed the ax over to the monument protection office in Chełm, he received the surprising news that it was over 6,000 years old.

“In scientific terms, this is our most valuable find,” Edwin Rozwałka, president of the Historical and Ethnographic Association of Lublin Land Lovers, stated in a Ministry of Science and Higher Education press release. “Many a seeker can spend his whole life wandering around and not find something equally valuable.” .

A Potential Gift To The Gods

Siennica Rozana

Mapa Dotacji UEThe village of Siennica Różana, near where the ax was found.

Upon receiving the ax from Ościak, researchers knew they had something special on their hands.

“This discovery is of great importance for the science and history of the region,” Paweł Wira, head of the Chełm branch of the Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments in Lublin, said in the press release.

Researchers dated the ax to the 4th millennium B.C.E., during the Neolithic period.

According to researchers, the ax was not forged within the region but instead was likely brought there by the Lublin-Volyn people from the Carpathian Basin, an area now comprising western Hungary, or from the Eastern Alps.

Wira believes that the Lublin-Volyn culture may have left the ax in its final resting place as an offering to a deity.

Now, researchers are transporting the ax to the Regional Museum in Krasnystaw, where experts will continue to examine it.

After reading about the discovery of the Neolithic ax, dive into the story of Göbekli Tepe, a Neolithic site of worship and the oldest temple in the world. Then, read about nine archaeology finds from 2023 that reshaped how we view history.

Amber Morgan
Amber Morgan is an Editorial Fellow for All That's Interesting. She graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in political science, history, and Russian. Previously, she worked as a content creator for America House Kyiv, a Ukrainian organization focused on inspiring and engaging youth through cultural exchanges.
Maggie Donahue
Maggie Donahue is an assistant editor at All That's Interesting. She has a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a Bachelor's degree in creative writing and film studies from Johns Hopkins University. Before landing at ATI, she covered arts and culture at The A.V. Club and Colorado Public Radio and also wrote for Longreads. She is interested in stories about scientific discoveries, pop culture, the weird corners of history, unexplained phenomena, nature, and the outdoors.
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Morgan, Amber. "Metal Detectorist Discovers 6,000-Year-Old Neolithic Ax In Polish Forest.", April 17, 2024, Accessed June 21, 2024.