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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Axe Head
Weapons and Ammunition
Work Type
first half 14th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Anatolia
Bronze Age, Late
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Cast, lost-wax process
8.7 x 2.2 x 2.5 cm (3 7/16 x 7/8 x 1 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: ICP-MS/AAA data from sample, Bronze:
Cu, 86.73; Sn, 12.33; Pb, 0.17; Zn, less than 0.001; Fe, 0.04; Ni, 0.16; Ag, 0.02; Sb, 0.1; As, 0.43; Bi, less than 0.025; Co, 0.024; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001
J. Riederer

Technical Observations: The patina is a smooth green and black with brown burial deposits. The object is structurally intact, although surface deformations are present along some of the edges. Most of the tool marks appear to be modern. The axe head was made by casting, probably using the lost-wax process.

Carol Snow (submitted 2002)

Louise M. and George E. Bates, Camden, ME (by 1971-1992), gift; to the Harvard University Art Museums, 1992.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Louise M. and George E. Bates
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
This heavy, socketed axe head does not have a cutting blade and may therefore have served a ceremonial purpose (1). The wide, curved end where the blade would be has a 2.2-cm-wide edge. On the opposite end are two opposed spikes with a bead on the terminal of each; the butt of the axe head slopes and curves between the two points. The edges are raised at each end. The diameter expands around the socket and tapers toward each end.


1. Compare another axe head also lacking a cutting edge in O. W. Muscarella, Bronze and Iron: Ancient Near Eastern Artifacts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 1988) 237, no. 336. See also a depiction of a Hittite axe head with a thick, curled edge instead of a blade for cutting in R. Dussaud, “Haches a douille de type asiatique,” Syria 11.3 (1930): 245-71, esp. 245-46, fig. 2.

Lisa M. Anderson

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

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