A Silver Axe of 23rd-22nd Centuries B.C., a Symbol of Power in the Armenian Highlands

  • by Western Armenia, May 16, 2024 in Culture

The silver axe dating from the 23rd-22nd centuries was found during the excavations of the Karashamb monument from the so-called "royal" tomb. The tomb was discovered in 1987. it is a complete complex, where for the first time, according to experts, the axe is not just a tool or a weapon, but a symbol of power.

During a meeting with journalists, Armine Zohrabyan, researcher-funder of the Department of Archeology and Numismatics of the Museum of History of Eastern Armenia, stated that it shows that the state entities living in the Armenian Highlands had their own ideas about power at that time.

"Among other finds, a silver ritual sacrificial stone was found in the famous tomb of Karashamb. The battle axe  had a ritual significance. It is a magnificent example of a ceremonial weapon.

The scabbard is one-piece, the bow-shaped curved combat blade has the shape of a saddle in the limbs. With a smooth transition, the kotar connects to the horizontally placed support bar, the shrishak, the center of which is crowned with a spherical protrusion. In the center of the bowl there is an oval hole for a handle. The axe  is bordered on both sides with a spirally twisted, uninterrupted relief," the specialist noted.

Zohrabyan explained why the ax in particular acquired the significance of a symbol of power: there was already a mythology. And according to mythology, the main god builds the balance of the world, the axis, the right and the left by means of an ax when he strikes with the ax and splits the world in two. According to him, the ax has gained an important importance in the government as a tool for making court decisions.

This sample is exceptional, because this is the only example of an axe in the region, which is made of silver. At the same time, there are many axes of the same type, but all of them are made of copper and bronze," he notes.

The expert emphasized that it is no coincidence that the king/god is depicted on the Karashambi cup, holding a sword in his hand, and military spoils are placed in front of him. This indicates that the sacr is an attribute symbolizing power, which could also be used during rituals.