A set of model tools unearthed from the Tomb of Ankhef. These date from the Middle Kingdom period in Egypt - around 2,000 BC.
Inscription reads: "The one in honor with Anubis, Lord of Kereret, Ankhef", followed by a list of tools that the box likely once contained: "6 axes, 6 adzes, 6 reamers, 6 saws".
These are models from this era; possibly the four thousand-year-old equivalent of a miniature? Note the length of the adze; that's just under 1 shesep (translation: approximately half of a double handbreath).
Or, for those of us who prefer to express our units of measurement in fractional hieroglyphics, that's about one-third of a
On display now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.
Ancient multitools - photos
tool miniatures by William R. Robertson
Miniature tools by Paul Hamler
Miniature blacksmith tools - photo
Al Osterman machine shop miniatures
I believe those are the originals, displayed today at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And that the originals were models or miniatures themselves.
What I don't understand is how the joints on that wood and plaster box survived thousands of years.
Was in Egypt last year and after seeing many artifacts in many tombs still intact, and being a 'wood' man myself, I'm quite sure that very low humidity along with deep secretive location in tombs, does not allow normal timber degradation to take place. The wind, rain and sun are what eats wood up...
Best to you and thank you for hosting this wonderful place.
Jim in Sunny (although NOT today) South Coast NSW, Australia
Even today, it's not unusual to find ID numbers applied directly to museum artifacts. Typically, an easily removable, obviously modern marking medium is used.
Excavations can yield many similar artifacts so some means of identifying them is essential. Researchers writing about the artifacts need some way of referring to a particular one and museums need some way of cataloging their collections.
Adhesive tags can fall off and leave residue. Tie on tags are fine but not suitable for artifacts that have no piercings. I suppose they decided that writing directly on the object was a good compromise.
Next time you're in a museum displaying recovered artifacts, look closely and I'll bet you'll be able to find similar markings.
The accession number for the model adze is "17.9.19" with the first two numbers corresponding to those on the box. This suggests that the last number is the number applied to the items associated with the artifact, i.e., the box is item 31 of the collection known as 17.9 in the museum's records.
Last edited by mklotz; 06-05-2018 at 11:46 AM.
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On the flip side the box looks surprisingly utilitarian for burial in a tomb. Egyptian wood working was very advanced with examples of Dovetails being used in wood objects.
If you visit an exhibition of Egyptian artifiacts, such as the British Museum, you will see that wooden items seem to survive quite well for thousands of years, and if stored in tombs they look almost new.
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