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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Dagger with Silvered Rivets
Weapons and Ammunition
Work Type
2nd Millennium BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Crete
Minoan period
Persistent Link
Level 3, Room 3620, University Study Gallery
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Physical Descriptions
Bronze, silver rivets
Cast, lost-wax process
4.3 x 1.4 (rivet thickness) x 25.8 cm (1 11/16 x 9/16 x 10 3/16 in.)
Technical Details

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

Technical Observations: The patina is dark green with black. The dagger is a solid cast. There is silver plating on the three rivets; the sheets of silver were possibly hammered onto the copper alloy rivets and are held in place mechanically. Striations on the blade are the result of finishing after casting.

Tracy Richardson (submitted 1999)

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of The Leon and Harriet Pomerance Foundation, Inc.
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
Three rivets pierce the slightly rounded butt of this blade and would have attached it to a handle. The rivets have circular heads on either end of cylindrical rods. The heads on both sides are plated with silver. The blade has a wide, flat midrib on each side. The sides of the blade taper only slightly for much of the length before coming sharply to a point (1). The edges are slightly chipped.

The general shape of the blade can be compared to daggers from the Greek mainland, some of which also have silver caps on the rivets (2).


1. Compare a Middle Minoan III-Late Minoan I dagger at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. no. 26.31.485; and G. M. A. Richter, Handbook of the Greek Collection (Cambridge, MA, 1953) 16 and 169, pl. 9.

2. See Th. J. Papadopoulos, The Late Bronze Age Daggers of the Aegean 1: The Greek Mainland, Prähistorische Bronzefunde 6.11 (Stuttgart, 1998) 5-7, nos. 22-24, pls. 2-3. The shape of the blade, as well as the shape and profile of the midrib, resembles some of the more decorative Bronze Age daggers with elaborate scenes inlaid in gold, silver, and niello on the midribs; see ibid., 8, nos. 31-32, pl. 4.

Lisa M. Anderson

Publication History

Katherine Eremin and Josef Riederer, "Analytical Approaches to Ancient Bronzes", Ancient Bronzes through a Modern Lens: Introductory Essays on the Study of Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes, ed. Susanne Ebbinghaus, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2014), 64-91, p. 82, fig. 3.8.

Susanne Ebbinghaus, ed., Ancient Bronzes through a Modern Lens: Introductory Essays on the Study of Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes, Harvard Art Museum/Yale University Press (Cambridge, MA, 2014), pp. 59, 82, fig. 3.8

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

32Q: 3620 University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/04/2021 - 01/02/2022

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

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