Macehead

Object Number: IA:E70.31361

Decorated macehead. Neolithic 3300–2800 BC. Found in the eastern chamber of the main Passage Tomb at Knowth, Co. Meath, this is an object that shows a refinement of design, sophistication and technical ability of an exceptionally high order. It is made from pale grey flint with some brown-coloured patches. Of compact hammer-shape, with a roughly trapezoidal plan, there is a cylindrical perforation for the handle located towards the narrow end. All six surfaces bear decoration in low relief carved with incredible finesse. The sides bear spiral designs that continue on to the upper and lower surfaces respectively to curve around the shaft hole. On the upper surface there is a c-shaped scroll that may represent the eyes of a human face with the shaft hole representing a gaping mouth. The ends each bear a series of interlocking elongated lozenges. No macehead with comparable decoration has been found elsewhere in Ireland although comparisons can be drawn with finds from northern and western Britain in particular. L. 7.9cm; max. w. 5.4cm; D. of perforation 1.7cm.

Collection: Irish Antiquities Division - Antiquities Collection


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