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a chopping tool meant primarily for working with wood; also used as a weapon. The ax was first used in the early Neolithic period. It was shaped like an elongated stone wedge affixed to the split end of a wooden handle. During the late Neolithic and the Bronze Age, polished stone axes were widely used. Also in use during the Bronze Age were cast copper and bronze axes with an opening in the blade for the handle. Later, stone axes, also with openings for the handle, were made in the shape of metal axes with simulated cast seams. During the Iron Age, iron axes with eye holes were in wide use.
In Ancient Rus’ of the 11th to 13th centuries, there were different axes for the felling of timber, for carpentry, and for battle; battle axes were often richly ornamented. The type of ax in use today appeared in the early 17th century.