A mattock in use to dig out a burrowing pit.
A mattock in use to dig out a burrowing pit.

A mattock is an agricultural tool similar to a pickax. It is distinguished by the head terminating in a broader blade rather than a narrow spike, which makes it particularly suitable for breaking up moderately hard ground. This broad bladed end is effectively an adze that could be used as a hoe as well. If the reverse has a pointed end the tool is called a pick mattock and if it instead has an axe-like splitting end it is a cutter mattock. A combination axe and mattock used for fighting forest fires is a pulaski.

Mattock heads range from 1,5 to 3,5 kg (3 to 7 pounds) in weight, and are normally mounted on a 90 to 120 cm (3 to 4 foot) shaft. The shaft is often heavier than the head, sometimes possessing twice the mass and density of a baseball bat.

Mattocks are still frequently used for pathwork in hill areas such as the Scottish Highlands.

During the Middle Ages of Europe, the mattock served as an improvised shafted weapon for the poorer classes.

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