Ground out of red and black granite that ancient Egypt is famous for, this spectacular and very rare perforated disk mace would have made a formidable weapon in its day. One of the most famous types of Egyptian granite is the red Aswan granite, which was used extensively in pharaonic architecture. This granite has a rich, warm color and is known for its durability and resistance to erosion. It was used to make statues, obelisks, and sarcophagi, as well as architectural elements such as columns and lintels. Here, we have an extraordinarily rare Predynastic Egyptian disk mace made of this same material that so many iconic objects were later made of from ancient Egypt. The scarcity of ancient Egyptian weapons on the market demonstrates their immense rarity. Even in museum collections, only very seldom will you see any weapons on display as they are among some of the rarest ancient objects of that culture.
The disk mace was the earliest form of mace head in ancient Egypt. The colors of the stone represented different meanings in early Egypt, and most appropriately in this weapon. Red was also the color of destructive fire and fury and was used to represent something dangerous. Black encompassed darkness, death and the underworld.
This impressive specimen shows a naturally lustrous finish on one side and features superb preservation with ancient deposits in all micro-crevices - a testament to its authenticity and age. The red and black granite displays an incredible rich patina. The large drilled hole in the center would have allowed this mace head to be mounted on a wooden shaft handle. The tapered outer edge allowed sharp penetration to break bone and crush skulls. It would have been employed by foot soldiers, and mounted warriors on horseback and chariot.
Scant archaeological evidence of Predynastic Egypt exists from 9000 BC to 6000 BC. At the end of the Pleistocene Period in the Nile Region, temperate conditions made for an ideal environment for the birth of a highly specialized Neolithic society between 7000 B.C. and 3200 B.C.. Continued expansion of the desert forced the early ancestors of the Egyptians to settle around the Nile more permanently, and adopt a more sedentary lifestyle during the Neolithic. Around 6000 BC, Neolithic settlements existed throughout Egypt. Studies have determined these settlements were founded by people from the Fertile Crescent in the Near East, moving to the area during the Egyptian and North African Neolithic and bringing farming to the region.
"Predynastic Egypt" is traditionally defined as the period from the final part of the Neolithic period beginning c. 6000 BC to the end of the Naqada III period c. 3000 BC. The dates of the Predynastic period were first defined before widespread archaeological excavation of Egypt took place, and recent finds indicating very gradual Predynastic development have led to controversy over when exactly the Predynastic period ended. Thus, various terms such as "Protodynastic period", "Zero Dynasty" or "Dynasty 0" are used to name the part of the period which might be characterized as Predynastic by some and Early Dynastic by others.
The Predynastic period is generally divided into cultural eras, each named after the place where a certain type of Egyptian settlement was first discovered. However, the same gradual development that characterizes the Protodynastic period is present throughout the entire Predynastic period, and individual "cultures" must not be interpreted as separate entities but as largely subjective divisions used to facilitate study of the entire period.
The vast majority of Predynastic archaeological finds have been in Upper Egypt, because the silt of the Nile River was more heavily deposited at the Delta region, completely burying most Delta sites long before modern times.