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W581 and W582 Middle Kingdom battle axes  

On the left is W581 and on the right W582. Both are Middle Kingdom battle axes. These consist of a bronze, crescentic blade attached to a bronze case socket for the shaft. In the example above (W581) the wooden shaft would have been encased in bronze, the casing is much perished and the wood shaft no longer exists.  The example on the right (W582) still has the wooden shaft and has holes by which the blade might be secured to the shaft.   

This type of axe originated in Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine (Yadin 1963, 154) and was used as a cutting/slashing weapon. This type of axe has a long blade as it is intended for cutting, rather than piercing. Eventually such items went out of use because of the increasing use of body armour which demanded weapons which were able to penetrate.  They were replaced by the type of axe illustrated by W504 and W505.

Both objects were part of the MacGregor collection purchased by Wellcome in 1922.

Other weapons in the Egypt Centre


Further Reading 

Schulz, C.E. 2003, ‘Studien zu den ägyptischen Beilen mit drei Rücksprüngen’ in Bickel, S. and Loprieno, A. (eds.) Basel Egyptology Prize 1. Junior Research in Egyptian History, Archaeology, and Philology. pp. 233-248

Yadin, Y. 1963. The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.