Hirmer Verlag, courtesy Aleppo Museum

A ceremonial battle axe from Ugarit (c. 1400 B.C.). Atop the bronze socket of this elegant weapon, cast in a mold and inlaid with gold, is a crouching wild boar. The blade was probably wrought or hammered from a piece of meteoritic iron, as were many iron artifacts of this period. No proper metallographic analysis has been made of this blade, but based on available information, metallurgist H. G. Richardson said of the axe: “It is not a formidable weapon in any sense—size, weight, hardness or inherent soundness. In a finish fight the bronze socket would be far more dependable than the iron blade.”