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A finely patinated Middle Bronze Age Canaanite duck-billed bronze shaft-hole axehead; curved beak-shaped blade with two pierced eyes and a raised ridge down the centre.


Circa 1900-1700 BC.


Condition: Good overall condition with nice patina, but one end of the shaft repaired with a chip missing from the edge.

Length 10.5 cms (4.1 ins).


Provenance: Ex London gallery; previously with Artcurial, Paris, 11/7/2017 lot 132; ex 1980 French collection.


"Duckbill-shaped" axes like this one were produced primarily in Syria-Palestine during the Middle Bronze Age IIA phase. They are attested throughout the eastern Mediterranean world from Anatolia in the north to the Nile Delta in the south. A similar axe head was found in a tomb in the late Twelfth Dynasty stratum at Tell el-Daba (ancient Avaris) in the delta. Instead of having a series of small binding-holes like a typical Egyptian axe, this Asiatic type has a large socket to receive the haft. Its cutting edge is much smaller than that of its Egyptian counterpart due to its narrow shape, but the force generated by swinging this axe would have been so focused that a single blow might have proven lethal, especially since armour and helmets were apparently unknown to Egyptian soldiers until the New Kingdom.

Canaanite Bronze Age duckbill axehead

SKU: K032

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