The current Axis trunk uses Maven 3 and the build is fully automated. To build Axis, first check out the sources from SVN:

svn checkout axis

Then change to the axis directory and execute the Maven build:

mvn clean install

At the time of writing, the Axis build requires at least Maven 3.0.4 and Java 1.5. The build is configured to fail early if an incompatible Maven or Java version is detected. Note that the compatibility of the produced artifacts with Java 1.4 is enforced using the Animal Sniffer Plugin.