The Old Kingdom period spanned from 2686 – 2181 BC, and as the first of the three kingdoms in Egypt’s history, demanded a strong military to establish and secure the nation’s position. This primarily entailed keeping out foreign enemies, with Libyans threatening from the west, Nubians from the south, and the Sinai and Canaanites from the north.
Old Kingdom Egypt did not boast a professional military, however, and so weapons, such as this mace head, would have been brandished by members of a volunteer army. Although the bow and arrow was the most common choice, Egyptian weaponry was varied, and included swords, knives and spears. Mace heads were made of stone or wood, and (in addition to the soldiers of volunteer armies) they were a favourite weapon of Egyptian kings. This is evident from numerous surviving reliefs, which depict the nation’s ruler smiting his enemies with a mace.