Mock weapons from the Iron Age

Science Daily pores over the mysterious discovery of a collection of non-functional metal weapons from more than 2,600 years ago:

Discovered in 2009, the site known as Mudhmar East consists of two main buildings and several additional facilities. It is located at the foot of Jabal Mudhmar, near one of the largest valleys in Oman and at a strategic crossing of several trade routes.

With a length of 15 meters, the larger of the two buildings is located on the slope of Jabal Mudhmar and is made of cut sandstone blocks and earth bricks. It is in this building, in a small, apparently doorless room, that the team uncovered an exceptional collection of bronze weapons. Dating from the Iron Age II (900-600 BC), these objects appear to have fallen off furniture or shelves on which they were placed. Alternatively, they may have hung on the walls of the room.

Within this collection of objects, two especially remarkable groups stand out. The first one consists of two small quivers entirely made of bronze, including the six arrows contained in each of them. Given their size (35 cm), these were small-scale models imitating the original objects made of perishable materials (leather), which are not usually found in archaeological excavations. The fact that they are made of metal implies that they were non-functional. Quivers of this kind have never been found in the Arabian Peninsula, and are extremely rare elsewhere.

The second group comprises metal weapons, which were mostly non-utilitarian (given their slightly reduced size, material and/or unfinished state). They consist of five battle-axes, five daggers with crescent-shaped pommels (characteristic of the Iron Age II), around fifty arrowheads, and five complete bows.

So… maybe a shopkeeper was showing off goods? Maybe there was a thriving scene of weapon model buffs? Or maybe handcrafted offerings to a god of war?