After the Stone Age came the Bronze Age, and the bronze axes dating from that period were of great economic importance. At first, the bronze specimens were very similar to their stone predecessors, but gradually the specific qualities and possibilities of bronze were discovered. Originally, the axes did not have an opening to hold a shaft. But bronze could be cast in such a way as to leave a hollow space to hold the shaft, with the added advantage of needing less bronze.
With the sharp bronze axes it was easier to fell larger sections of forest for use as arable land or pasture. Also, the bronze tools did not break as easily as stone axes. Blunt axes could be melted down in order to make new ones. As the casting process improved, the tools progressed from knee-shaft axe, palstave, double-bladed axe to socketed axe. In the latter design a little socket was added to the axe, ensuring that it would not easily be lost during work.
Thanks to these developments it is possible to date the axes more precisely. We encounter flat axes in the Early Bronze Age, in the Middle Bronze Age we find the knee-shaft axes, palstaves and double-bladed axes and the Late Bronze Age saw the arrival of the socketed axe. At each stage we see old elements disappear, but in each new design we see certain old elements being preserved as well.