|52||THE STONE IMPLEMENTS OF KAHUN.|
work, without cement. See figs. in Kahun PL. XVI. and Illahun VlI. 4. An example of this form of axe blade and its handle is depicted amongst the objects required in a future life, in the interior of a coffin of Mentu-hetep in the British Museum, No. 6655; its date is previous to the XIIth dynasty. The axe blades are coloured pale red, but saws and halbert-shaped axes, all evidently of metal, are coloured lemon yellow ; and Mr. Petrie tells me that the axe in the tomb sculptures of Ra hotep [early IVth dynasty] has also a circular curve and is coloured a bluish-grey, different from the greenish-blue used to express copper. Whether these axes are representations of stone, copper, or bronze is of course uncertain, as colour is rarely to be relied on for the definite expression of a kind of material, though it may be for mere differences between materials; but the circular outline of the blades agrees with no form of copper or bronze implement known to have been found in Egypt hitherto; while the shape is in accordance with the forms of the flint and hornstone axes of Kahun. If these representations and others like them are in any way related to forms of bronze they are of such shapes as are least removed from those of chipped or polished stone, and must represent in the former case a transition type or in the latter an actual survival of an archaic outline.
As to the special use of the hornstone axe, Illahun, PL. VII. 3 with very blunt edges, it is difficult to assign a use other than that of squaring blocks of stone, for which however the use of a coarse adze would be more suitable as admitting of more accurate aim.
An axe blade of the same shape, but much smaller was found; as it was fashioned out of white chalky limestone, it could not have been used for working and must have been a model or toy.
86. The blades of adzes are comparatively rare. When new the cutting edge is carefully trimmed and well rounded. After use the retrimming was in a straight line, see plates Kahun XVI right and left corners. In both these figures the tang becomes narrow, each however had a little knot at the apex in close resemblance to similarly shaped copper blades also found at Kahun of contemporary age. These knobs were perhaps found necessary in smooth bronze tools to prevent the falling out of the blade when the thongs for attachment had become loose by use. There is another form having a straight edge and broad tang, Illahun VII, 1. The handle suitable for these is figured in Kahun PL. IX. 15. It was a new handle and applicable either to a bronze or stone blade. The shape of the instrument is well known from coloured figures and examples extending from the earliest to Roman times. But it is noticeable that the implement, which is the simplest next to the axe, is very far removed from the neolithic tool of Europe, for no actual examples or hieroglyphs of Nun or Sotep, or pictures, have been found in which the blade is inserted in a wooden socket.
Among the objects of the Xllth dynasty was something intended for an adze blade, six inches long, the clumsiness of whose workmanship, and the failure to produce on it a serviceable edge, suggests the work of a beginner rather than a preparatory blocking out by a skilled workman. A portion of an adze blade is shown in Illahun PL.VII. 9, whose form and workmanship however is not like that of any certainly known to be of the XIIth dynasty. As it was found in a burial with some scarabs of the beginning of the XVIIIth dynasty it is probably of that age.
87. The marked types of knife-like blades are five in number. That figured in Kahun, XVI. [top line last but one on right], is a common variety, the chipping is always rough, it has no good cutting edge and the convex edge is rudely bevelled on one side only. The blade is blunted at the tip. The figure next to the last is another type, and its workmanship is about equal to the former; both these have their free ends downwards. A type not far removed from the last as to shape and style is represented next to the adze blade on the left of the same plate, and a fine example in Illahun PL. VII. 11. By far the most characteristic knife blade however is that represented in Kahun PL. XVI. to the left of the cap of the column and in Illahun PL. VII. 7 and 8. All these examples, and they are numerous, either whole or in portions, are very well chipped in broad flaking, having no attempt at regularity of pattern ; but the smoothness of surface and suitability for purposes of cutting are as perfect as in those, with the narrowest ripple flaking so pleasing to the eye, seen on some implements of other periods. In Illahun PL. VII the fine knives have transverse sections appended. These knives have one edge either perfectly straight or very slightly and gracefully concave. The straight edge was apparently finished off on a stone to get the line even. No signs of hard usage ever occur on this edge in perfect specimens, but on the other edge there is much evidence of rather rough employment, and though generally the splintering is from one side
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