There is a wealth of Bronze Age archaeology on Lismore (cairns and cists) but we have to look for less obvious traces of the first farmers of the New Stone Age (around 3,500-2,000BC). Several cup marked stones, including the great broken boulder at Cloichlea, may date from that time, and peat cores from Lismore lochs have revealed that the people were active in clearing the forest cover during this period.
Polished stone axes, found throughout Scotland, are characteristic of the Neolithic period. This one, from Lismore, was worked from micaceous quartzite, probably from Appin. It would have been roughly shaped using stone hammers, and then polished using a whetstone. The regularity in the shape of Neolithic axes shows that their manufacture required a high degree of skill.
Stone axes for work were mounted in a wooden handle as shown in the replica in the showcase in the museum room. There is evidence that polishing made the axe more durable and effective in cutting trees and general woodwork. However, polished axes are also beautiful and it is likely that they were valued as tokens of wealth and power.
The stone axe in LismoreMuseum collection was found in 1973 by Archie and Margery Campbell (Carnie Cottage) near Balnagown, and donated to the collection by Archie in memory of Margery. It shows some evidence of use (pitted, with a single gouge, and wear of the cutting edge).