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Bronze Age gouge, Must Farm. Source: AncientCraftUK / YouTube Screenshot.

The Gouge: A Versatile Ancient Tool of the Bronze Age (Video)


Must Farm (a Bronze Age settlement at Must Farm quarry near Peterborough, England) has given British archaeologists a treasure trove of ancient artifacts to explore. This time the spotlight falls on an unassuming yet vital tool: the gouge. This versatile implement, as integral as the more recognizable sickles and axes, emerges from the shadows of prehistory. The preserved wooden handles of these gouges, bearing marks of wear and tear, hint at their indispensable role in shaping the settlement's landscape. These gouges tell a tale of craftsmanship. From felling trees to refining shapes, they played a pivotal role in woodworking, showcasing the innovation of an era where craftsmanship met necessity.

The diversity of gouge types found suggests a nuanced approach to woodworking, from crafting joints to adding finishing touches to everyday objects like troughs and bowls. The bruised handles of hafted gouges reveal the labor behind these creations, connecting the dots between the practical and the aesthetic in Must Farm's daily life. The discovery of a complete gouge, accompanied by its field maple handle, adds a tactile dimension to this ancient narrative, offering a glimpse into the hands that shaped the settlement's material world.

Top image: Bronze Age gouge, Must Farm. Source: AncientCraftUK / YouTube Screenshot.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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