Macehead - ROM2018_16271_38



Medium:Dolomite limestone
Geography: Probably from Giza, Egypt
Date: c. 2613-2494 BC
Period: Reign of Khafre, 4th Dynasty, Old Kingdom
6.5 × 6.8 cm
Object number: 968.241.1
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

A macehead is a very ancient weapon, and perfectly effective at smashing bones and breaking skulls. Many maces, however, are strictly ceremonial, such as the one carried into Parliament at the opening of a session. In ancient Egypt, where actual maceheads were used in battle, some maceheads were beautifully carved and decorated, and used in some ceremonial manner, perhaps being carried by the king as he went about tours of inspection.

The name on this macehead is Khafre, (also known as Chephren,) the builder of the Second Pyramid at Giza. The macehead could have belonged to a mace he carried during a ceremonial inspection of the construction of his pyramid, or could have been used long after, in a commemorative event. As a considerable number of fragments of Khafre maceheads have been found, it’s even possible that this was some kind of souvenir given to a courtier as a reward. Alternately, it’s quite possible that it really was used to dispatch prisoners of war.

If you see an error or have additional information, please contact us by clicking here.