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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Weapons and Ammunition
Work Type
25th-21st century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Cyprus
Bronze Age, Early
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
4.5 x 50.2 cm (1 3/4 x 19 3/4 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: ICP-MS/AAA data from sample, Copper:
Cu, 98.19; Sn, 0.39; Pb, less than 0.04; Zn, 0.007; Fe, 0.24; Ni, less than 0.01; Ag, 0.01; Sb, less than 0.05; As, 1.16; Bi, less than 0.025; Co, less than 0.01; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001
J. Riederer

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Tracer
Alloy: Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin
Other Elements: lead, iron, silver, antimony, arsenic
K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The patina is a dull blackish brown. All corrosion was completely removed by stripping, and the object appears to have been repatinated after stripping. The spearhead is largely intact, although there are some surface losses and losses along the outer edges. The spearhead was cast and then hot worked. Rough finishing marks on the object could be ancient, but some appear to be from a previous cleaning.

Carol Snow (submitted 2002)

Purchased from the Cesnola (Cypriote) Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Department of the Classics, Harvard University, G. G. Van Rensselaer Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
The intact, double-edged leaf-shaped blade tapers to a sharp point; one edge is noticeably more chipped than the other is. Small triangular notches are cut into the curved shoulder. There is a pronounced midrib on both sides, which does not noticeably taper in width or height, although the thickness of the blade itself thins from the shoulder to the point. The circular-sectioned tang (11.4 cm long) tapers from the shoulder toward the sharp bend at the tip (1).

The tang would have inserted into a wooden handle. Spearheads are often found in Cypriot Bronze Age tombs and may have served as status symbols (2).


1. Compare L. P. di Cesnola, A Descriptive Atlas of the Cesnola Collection of Cypriote Antiquities in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 3 (Boston, 1903) pl. 72.2 and 5; V. Karageorghis, Ancient Art from Cyprus: The Cesnola Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 2000) 55-56, nos. 80-82. The Harvard spearhead is known to have been part of the Cesnola collection. Compare also M. Garsson, ed., Une histoire d’alliage: Les bronzes antiques des réserves du Musée d’archéologie méditerranéenne, exh. cat. (Marseille, 2004) 29, no. 4.

2. Karageorghis 2000 (supra 1) 55.

Lisa M. Anderson

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

Related Works

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