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Weapons and warfare

It is often difficult to know if apparent ‘weapons’ were used for hunting, warfare or for ritual. For example, the stone maceheads of the Early Dynastic Period are often said to have been used in warfare. However, more recently it has been suggested that it is more likely that they were used in rituals, or perhaps as status symbols. Arrowheads may have been used in either for hunting animals or for killing people in warfare.

There is a further problem in that many artefacts were found in graves. Such items may not necessarily have been the type of artefacts used in everyday life. The links below relate to objects in the Egypt Centre which might have been used in warfare, though other uses could be posited for some.


An experimental demonstration on the making of an ancient Egyptian horn bow by Sonia Focke, May 2010


Items associated with weapons and warfare in the Egypt Centre:

Flint, hollow-based arrowheads


Flint lunate arrowheads from Armant

Archers’ thumb rings

Middle Kingdom battle axes

Piercing socketed axes

Copper alloy dagger 

Two First Intermediate Period soldier stelae, EC62 and W1366

Possible model dagger with cartouche Thutmosis III

A shabti belonging to General Ankhwahibre

A commander of the army, Amenhotep Son of Hapu


Nubian bowmen