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Reed arrow shafts and flint and bone/ivory arrowheads (Edinburgh, Royal Museum). Arrows used in hunting were rapidly made and tended to inflict large, shallow wounds, whereas these, for use in warfare, could be fired from a long distance and were capable of inflicting deep wounds. (Esther Carre)

a thick, blue-green paste, which was then applied under the archer's eyes with the fingers. The malachite paste also had the added property of acting as a natural disinfectant, and the mineral is a common ingredient in Egyptian ophthalmologic recipes.

HAND-TO-HAND FIGHTERS Soldiers armed and equipped for hand-to-hand combat carried a long, roughly rectangular shield, which could sometimes be large enough to cover the bearer completely, and wielded a spear or, more commonly, a battleaxe. The use of the latter requires a degree of free movement on the part of individuals, and a certain amount of space for the fighters to keep out of one another's way. Battleaxes


This shock weapon usually consisted of a D-shaped or a rounded copper axe-head lashed to a wooden handle by rawhide thongs, threaded through perforations in the metal and wrapped around projecting lugs. The use of wet rawhide thongs, which shrank and tightened as they slowly dried, produced an extremely strong fixing. Blades could be easily removed from damaged or broken hafts, which could then be replaced. This would not have required specialist skills and could be undertaken by the soldier in the field. Hafts were usually made of willow, a native wood that was suitably strong. Another type of battleaxe was the splayed axe. This kind had a longer blade with concave sides narrowing down to a slightly curved cutting edge. Again blades were simply lashed to a wooden handle using

Osprey warrior 121 soldier of the pharaoh  
Osprey warrior 121 soldier of the pharaoh