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Archer's Wrist Guard

Period:
Middle Kingdom
Dynasty:
Dynasty 12
Reign:
Possibly Senwosret I
Date:
ca. 1961–1917 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Tomb MMA 507 (The Slain Soldiers), MMA excavations, 1926–27
Medium:
Leather
Dimensions:
6 x 5.5 cm (2 3/8 x 2 3/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1927
Accession Number:
27.3.135
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 106
The archer’s wrist guard was found in a mass grave of at least fifty-nine soldiers. Buried with the individuals were small pieces of military equipment such as bows and arrows, and this wrist guard still tied around the wrist of one man. The bodies showed evidence of violence, and from their wounds it was apparent that they died on the battlefield. The excavator believed that these "slain soldiers" were connected with a specific historical event that lead to the reunification of Egypt under Mentuhotep II, but reevaluation of the evidence does not support this theory. On the corners of their linen wrapping sheets were inscriptions, some with names that were only popular later, in early Dynasty 12. Moreover, the paleography of the inscriptions and the type of wrist guard found with the soldiers also point to an early 12th dynasty date, which can perhaps be narrowed down to the reign of Senwosret I (the second king of Dynasty 12).
Excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1926–1927. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1927.

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