Iroquois Grave Axe, 18th C



This grave axe is from the collection of famed collector and author Robert Wheeler, with
his attached tag reading: “GRAVE AXE-/1700s/UTAN MOUND”. It is pictured in
“Who’s Who In Indian Relics, Vol. No 8″, page181. This early axe was used as a fighting
war axe among the eastern Iroquois tribes Among the Iroquois culture the large size axes
were used by the women of the tribes to set up shelters, butcher game, and do the
domestic chores. The smaller size axes were lighter and more suited to deliver a fast
deadly blow on raids. Native Americans believed in life after death and the men were
buried with their tomahawks, war axes, knives, etc., believing it would all be of use in the
next life. This early style grave axe is 5 3/4″ long and features a forged lap eye seam, 2″
teardrop eye, and 2 5/8″ cutting edge. It has Wheeler’s white inventory markings and
identification tag indicating its being found in the Utan Mound. Excavated, showing pitting
and dark patina. A rare example of a fighting axe from a famous collection.