Gebel el-Arak Knife

Pre-historic Egypt, Naqada II
(3500-3100 B.C.)

Petrie, W.M. Flinders. The Making of Egypt, London. New York, Sheldon Press; Macmillan, pp. 65-66, 1939. Petrie famously known as "The Father of Pre-history".

Chapter VII. The Dynastic Conquest
Source of the Conquerors

Adding to the history, there is on the other side of the knife handle a figure of a hero or divinity subduing two lions. Such a group is widely spread, anciently, with lions in Elam, Mesoptamia and Greece; tigers in the Harappa of India; winged bulls or horses in Assyria; ibex in Arabia and deer in Italy; wolves at Athens; swans in Greece. For various animals we see that the idea is not the restraint of violence, but the assumption of power over all Nature, however untamable. Such then is the purpose of this group, and the source of it is a cold country, for the hero has a thick coat and cap, and the lions have thick hair under the whole body as a protection in snow. It must be from mountainous Elam and not from the plains of Mesopotamia that the figures come. The two beautiful figures of dogs belong to the Babylonian myth of Etana on the flying eagle, with two dogs looking up after it (Hayes Ward, 391-5). Below these are exquisitely spirited figures of animals, the connection of which we cannot realize in the broken connection.

Here is an historic monument of the highest value, but badly wreaked by the Government policy of seizing discoveries. In a free system of rewards, the tomb where this lay would have comes under official care, all collateral objects would have been preserved, and every fragment of such an ivory could be recovered by sifting. But this object was never known officially till in the hands of the dealer.

The other side of handle shown above left, we turn to a single sculpture in ivory for a demonstration of the invasion by the dynastic race, one of the greatest events in the history of Egypt, , the knife handle from Gebel el-Arak, probably presented to some great chief.

The flint blade of the knife was a fine example of parallel flaking. The ivory handle is carved in relief on both sides. On the top of the first side is shown a combat between short-haired men with bullet heads and long-haired men. The bullet heads, like the followers of Narmer, are in all cases getting the better. Both parties are unclothed, but wear a waist cord to hold up a dagger sheath ( or penial sheath). The invaders only are armed, using a truncheon. In the lower scene are two lines of ships, and drowned men lying in the sea between them. The upper line is of vessels

Egyptologist W.M. Flinders Petrie, famously known as "The Father of Pre-history". Petrie, excavations at Nagada and Ballas in Upper Egypt nearly 100 years ago unearth nearly 2200 ancient graves. 
He wrote over a thousand books, articles and reviews reporting on his excavations and his finds. NFOSource

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