BLACK STONE MACE-HEAD
Egypt, Predynastic Period
Naqada II or III, c. 3600 - 3100 B.C.
There is a bow drilled hole that runs through the center, and there is wear on the outer edges at each end of the hole. This may be due to the fact that a leather thong was attached through the central perforation, and could have produced wear to the outer edges of the hole at each end
Height: 5 cm
Width: 5 cm
Height on stand: 12 cm
Nicely mounted on a plexi-glass display stand
A leather thong was preferred over a rigid shaft that was directly attached to the stone mace-head, because a rigid shaft may not have with stood the blows, as this weapon generated a tremendous amount of energy at the point of attack.
This theory was elaborated by Winifred Needler in "Predynastic and Archaic Egypt in The Brooklyn Museum", Brooklyn, New York, 1984, p.145 and 259. The stone that this piece is made from, black basalt, is extremely dense and is one of the hardest stones to carve. The ancient Egyptians were able to carve some of their finest portrait busts from this stone, and in many cases it took years to do this and was a community effort for large-scale works.
The piece seen here was not easy to make, and is in itself is a work of art, although it is a weapon of war. There are nice cream colored calcite and light brown mineral deposits seen on the outer and inner surfaces of this piece, in addition to areas that have various degrees of wear. A nice weapon that is not often seen in black basalt.