Roughouts and polished stone axes are the largest part of the Prehistoric collection. The most important part of this is material relating to the stone axe ‘factory’ that used the Central Lake District deposits of volcanic tuff found in the Langdales. In the later Stone Age, hard stones were made into axe heads by being chipped into shape and then polished. The stone from the Langdale pikes was very suitable for this. Axes made from this stone have been found all over Britain and even abroad in places like Ireland. Over 80% of the axes that have been analysed have been found to be made of Langdale stone.
The Tullie House collection contains both finished items and debris from making these axes. The finished axes range in size from a few centimetres long upwards. They include the ‘Cumbrian Club’ shape that was defined by Clare Fell with flattened facets visible along the length of the narrow sides.