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Scorpion Macehead.
The Scorpion mace head (also known as the Major Scorpion mace head) refers to a decorated ancient Egyptian mace head found by Britishmarker archeologists James E. Quibell and Frederick W. Green in what they called the main deposit in the temple of Horus at Hierakonpolismarker during the dig season of 1897/1898. It is made of limestone, is pear-shaped, and is attributed to King Scorpion due to the glyph of a scorpion engraved close to the image of a king wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt.

A second, smaller mace head fragment showing King Scorpion wearing the Red Crown of Lower Egypt is referred to as the Minor Scorpion mace head.

Description of the mace heads

Egyptian pictorial conventions

Ancient Egyptian depiction obeyed a number of conventions. Perspective being unknown, depth was often hinted at by depicting a more remote scene above a closer one. People's lower body, their legs, arms, and head were almost always shown in profile, while their torso was depicted in frontal view, as was the eye. Legs are always apart. Size was often dependent on status, kings being depicted larger than their inferiors.

The Major Scorpion mace head

On the mace head the king sporting a bull's tail is standing by a body of water, probably a canal, holding a hoe. He is wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt and is followed by two fan bearers. A scorpion and a rosette are depicted close to his head. He is facing a man holding a basket and men holding standards. A number of men are busy along the banks of the canal. In the rear of the king's retinue are some plants, a group of women clapping their hands and a small group of people, all of them facing away from the king. In the top register there is a row of nome standards. A bird is dangling from each of them, strung up by its neck.

The Minor Scorpion mace head

Little is left of this mace head and its imagery: A king wearing the Red Crown of Lower Egypt, sitting on a throne below a canopy, holding a flail. Beside his head images of a scorpion and a rosette. Facing him is a falcon who may be holding an end of a rope in one of its claws - cf. the Narmer Palette


  • David Wengrow The Archaeology of Early Egypt: Social Transformations in North-East Africa, 10 000 to 2650 BC., Cambridge University Press 2006


  1. The Ancient Egypt Site - The Narmer Palette, accessed September 19, 2007
  2. N. B. Millet,"The Narmer Macehead and Related Objects", in Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, No. 28, 1991, Figure 2
  3. F. J. Yurco, "Narmer: First King of Upper and Lower Egypt. A Reconsideration of his Palette and Macehead" in Journal of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities, No. 25, 1995, Figure 1
  4. I. E. S. Edwards ed., The Cambridge Ancient History, Part 2, Cambridge University Press 1925, ISBN 9780521077910 | ISBN 0521077915 p.26

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