Mallet - ROM2019_17073_11



Medium:Wood (Acacia?)
Geography: Excavated at Deir el-Bahri, Egypt
Date: c. 1550-1069 BC
Period: 18th-20th Dynasty, New Kingdom
26.1 × 12.5 cm
Object number: 907.18.59
Not on view

This well-worn wooden mallet was used by stone masons working at the site of Hatshepsut's temple of Deir el Bahari.  We do not know at which stage of the work this tool was employed: was it part of the original construction, or used later by Akhenaten's iconoclasts to desecrate the images of the gods, or later again, when Ramesses II sent work crews to repair and recarve the decoration.

This heavy wooden mallet is made in one piece with a conical head.  The cylindrical handle is 11 cm long with a diameter of about 2.7 cm. The surface of the handle is smooth and shiny from use. Pounding has worn a very deep horizontal depression in the centre of the head of the mallet. The top and area near the handle are also worn and shiny.  There is a deep vertical crack in the side of the mallet.

Wooden mallets and other tools were often left in foundation deposits at temples as votive offerings. The shape of these mallets changed little in the Pharaonic Period and the same shape of mallet is used in Egypt to this day. Such tools immediately connect us with the ancient workers, their work and lives.

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