The Narmer macehead is an ancient Egyptian decorative stone mace head. It was found in the “main deposit” in the temple area of the ancient Egyptian city of Nekhen (Hierakonpolis) by British Egyptologist James Quibell in 1898. The mace is a club-like weapon with a heavy top stone that is pierced for the insertion of a handle, originally developed as a weapon of war.
The scenes depicts a ceremony in which captives and plunder are presented to King Narmer or Menes, who is enthroned beneath a canopy on a stepped platform. He wears the Red Crown of Lower Egypt, holds a flail, and is wrapped in a long cloak. To the left, Narmer’s name is written inside a representation of the palace facade (the serekh) surmounted by a falcon.
At the bottom is a record of animal and human plunder; 400,000 cattle, 1,422,000 goats, and 120,000 captives. Details in this scene can be connected with royal festivals that were performed in order to renew the vitality of the king.
The Narmer macehead is better preserved than the Scorpion Macehead and has had various interpretations. One opinion is that, as for the Palette, the events depicted on it record the year it was manufactured and presented to the temple, a custom which is known from other finds at Hierakonpolis.
Late Predynastic – Early Dynastic, about 3273-2987 BC. Now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. AN1896-1908.E.3631