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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Tanged Dagger
Weapons and Ammunition
Work Type
25th-21st century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Cyprus
Bronze Age, Early
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Arsenical copper
Cast, lost-wax process
39 cm (15 3/8 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: ICP-MS/AAA data from sample, Arsenical Copper:
Cu, 97.99; Sn, less than 0.25; Pb, 0.18; Zn, less than 0.001; Fe, 0.11; Ni, less than 0.01; Ag, 0.01; Sb, less than 0.05; As, 1.71; Bi, less than 0.025; Co, less than 0.01; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001
J. Riederer
Comments: This was not supposed to be sampled; the sample may have been taken from another object and mislabeled.

Technical Observations: The patina is brown with black, green, and red corrosion on the end with the tang. The spearhead is largely intact, although there has been some surface loss 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)

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Stuart Cary Welch
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. It is curved at the shoulder where the blade and tang meet. 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 is thickest near the shoulder but does not otherwise taper. The tip of the tang ends in a sharp bend (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. 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

Exhibition History

Man in the Bronze Age, Chapel Arts Center, Manchester, 01/01/1970 - 01/30/1970; Brandeis University, Waltham, 02/09/1970 - 02/27/1970

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

Related Works

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