Staff arriving at Wessex Archaeology's Salisbury office from the west have been startled to see what looks like a huge Bronze Age axe on a roundabout.

Well, it is a huge Bronze Age axe rising from a barrow. And it is part of the public art associated with the adjacent housing development by Persimmon Homes.

Bronze Age Axe sculpture, looking north east

Before building work started Wessex excavated the site of the housing. One of the finds was a barrow and this provided the inspiration for the artists Angela Cockayne and Robert Fearns of Forge Projects.

Bronze Age Axe sculpture, looking south west

When viewed from the east, the Iron Age and Norman monuments at Old Sarum provide the backdrop. From this side you can also see on the shaft of the axe the coordinates of the roundabout. This is a reference to landscape, monument, and mapping. Near to the site an iron cannon was sunk into the ground as a survey baseline for the 18th century trigonometric survey of Britain. Wessex provided the GPS data to the artists.
Other plans for the public art include planting flower bulbs over the site of the Bronze Age barrow.

Bronze Age Axe sculpture, showing coordinates and looking towards Old Sarum and the Ordnance Survey cannon

Bronze Age Axe sculpture, showing coordinates. Photo by Angela Cockayne.

The coordinates on the Bronze Age axe sculpture, read: E414814.5, N133332.3, H77.538MOD.