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MX1505

A Mesopotamian Bronze Pickaxe, Early Dynastic Period, second half of the third millennium B.C.

Characterizing this pickaxe is the socket that is distinguished by being almost as long as the blade. The blade slopes down from the socket and is flat, thinning in width toward the tip; as such it is differentiated from an axe. Whether the pickaxe was employed solely as a tool or as both a tool and a weapon is unknown.

Pickaxes of this form, with more or less tall sockets and sloping blades, are among the earliest kinds of tools known from excavations; Plain examples have been excavated in Mesopotamia at Ur, Fara, Tepe Gawra, and Assur, and in Iran at Susa (listed in Deshayes 1960, I, 233, 243, II, 95, nos. 1848-55; and Moorey l971a, 60, no. 30), all dating to the second half of the third millennium B.C. Deshayes (1960, I, 233) mentions that many more than he lists were found at Susa; and recently an example was excavated at al Hiba (un- published) in southern Mesopotamia, of Early Dynastic date. 

For related example see: Muscarella, O. " Bronze and Iron, Ancient Near Eastern Artifacts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art", The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, (1988) p. 390 #515.

Condition:  Intact and in very good condition overall with good green brown patination.  Museum quality custom mount.

Dimensions:  Height:   3 1/8" (8 cm)   Length: 4 3/8" (11.2 cm)

Provenance:   The Nourollah Elghanayan Collection of Ancient Art, assembled 1950-1970's.  Nourollah Elghanayan (1915 - 2009), NYC, Iranian-born businessman started buying land in Manhattan in the 1950s and 1960s focusing on Manhattan property on Second and Third avenues.  His sons turned the holdings into a booming real-estate business. Now, the family is worth $1.9 billion and has more than 20 million square feet of residential and commercial holdings to its name, split among two firms.

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