Hoe - ROM2018_16337_17



Medium:Wood and rope
Geography: Excavated at Deir el-Bahri, Egypt
Date: c. 1550-1069 BC
Period: 18th-20th Dynasty, New Kingdom
45.5 × 24.9 × 12.4 cm
Object number: 907.18.31
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

Hoes were used in farming for breaking up the soil, or for cultivating already planted crops. They were also employed for mixing mud for bricks.  Since this hoe was found with other tools including a mallet, (907.18.54) chisel (907.18.26) and boning rods (907.18.280), it may have been used for brickmaking. Originally hoes were probably simply forked trees branches.  Blades were variously shaped to suit the intended use. Examples have been found with broad, flat and blunt blades, such as that of the present hoe. Other blades have flat triangular shapes below the binding.


Hoes are commonly seen in the hands of ushebtis, small figurines placed in tombs, who, with the recitation of the proper magical spell, supposedly came to life and performed field work for the deceased in the afterlife. The hoe figured prominently in the ritual life of the Egyptians, too, especially in the 'hacking up the earth ' a part of the foundation ceremonies performed at the construction of each temple.

The hoe is a common hieroglyph, with the sound 'mr.'  It was used to write the verb and noun 'love.'

Object History: Excavated by the Egypt Exploration Society, 1905-1907
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