Help With African Spear

This has been on my to-do list for a couple of years. A while back we came into possession of a spear head. Ok. Let me list what we think we know:

  1. African Spear Head.
  2. Seems hand made.
  3. Very thin. Almost too thin. But I don’t throw spears.
  4. We believe it is old.
  5. It is quite large. Well over 1 foot long. I need to measure it.

Questions:

  1. What part of Africa? It’s a big place?
  2. Does it seem to be related to any particular culture or group?
  3. Even though old, could it be fake or an old tourist trinket?

I am hoping we can get some help figuring it out. Perhaps you know of someone who is knowledgable of such things? Maybe you have one yourself and have even the slightest amount of data to add?

If it stumps our readers, I’ll have to put a call into some museums or large collections. But they likely won’t take the time to respond unless I am looking to donate it.

 

Marky
www.John1911.com
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”

Marky Mark

Marky Mark

Writer at John1911.com
Writer for john1911.com. Co-Host of the John1911 Podcast. Video content provider for John1911-TV.

Areas of focus: Defense and National Security, Modern Light Weapons, Analysis of the Geo-political / Military Relationship in the Context of Strategic Goals.
Marky Mark

Latest posts by Marky Mark (see all)

  • I know this may seem like something out of the blue. But we do have some ancient weapons in the armory. And sometimes…when wayward items no longer have a home, we get the call.

    But this one is a little out of our area. What is it? We were told African. But frankly, we can’t even assume that is correct. For all we know, Eskimos hunted walruses with this thing. Which is to say, we don’t have any bias towards one group or another.

    Just the facts,

    Marky

  • Fred

    i have a spearhead that i bought at a flea market yrs ago. it was cheap and looked cool but i have no idea where it is from. it is close to a foot long and has a spiral shaped blade with hooks and barbs on it. if you find an expert on spears that would be cool.

    • Post a pic. This may turn into quite the thread, Fred!

      Marky

  • Fred

    ill have to get my son to help me get a pic to upload.

  • guns2317

    Over the holidays I caught an episode of ” Forged in Fire ” where they made a Zulu Iklwa which is a short “CQB” spear that could be used for thrust or slash cutting. Your old artifact in the photo makes me wonder if that is a tribal variant of that design.

    Just a thought, by NO means am I an expert on antique weapons.

    • I have had a number of readers give me the exact same feedback. They say looks like an African short sword.

      Obviously I will need to investigate this further. I suspect you are correct.

      Thanks for the help. I really needed on this. I don’t know crap about African weapons.

      Marky

  • Mikial

    The thing about your spear point that makes it difficult to catalog are the threads at the base of the mount. Most antique era African spears were simply pressed onto the shaft.

    Whether thy were Maasai, Zulu, Hedenoa, or tribal spears from Tanzania and Sudan none of then had threads. So, in essence, I have no idea where your spear came from. I agree that it is old, and many tribal spears were 12 – 15” long, this one doesn’t match they basic pattern. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0df82cf77c678c5498fd9f08e3bf031b0c498f6bbc250d23195689ad3d88b532.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4cb01dbd1b37654ed64264762f7b3f6d17b787aba206eea20f9d9ec256712c3e.jpg

    • Good points. I’ll have to look closely at the base again, but I believe the “threads” are just decoration.

      Marky

      • Mikial

        Agreed, but even at that, old African cultures did not have machining techniques so even decorative threads would be well outside their experience or capabilities. Which leaves us with the question . . . just where did this spear point come from and when. Yeah, I know, that’s what you were asking us in the first place. 😉

  • Brennen Munro

    I am by no stretch of anyone’s imagination an “expert” on anything… but, it really reminds me of the the tourist stuff that you would see coming out of the Nairobi markets. A very cheap blade stuck together with some re-purposed copper water piping. If it was “real” the base of the blade would have a better haft to have a way to mount it onto a shaft. And the blade itself looks almost like it was mass cast, rather than forged. Many tourist items were cast as it was way cheaper and faster.
    As I said though, I claim no expertise in any field other than the study of my very own belly button! But I have seen a few tourist trade wares from out of Africa. But this may even be a case of a spirit spear traded to the Eskimos to hunt a Narwhal in order to sell it’s great “tooth” as a mythical Unicorn Horn to some drunken lout of a King holding court in some back water castle in cold northern Europe! (If your going to spin a tale, make it an interesting one!)

    Munro

    • It seems very crudly made to my with the exception the blade seems like it was hammered. Which would be a major pain in the ass to my way of thinking.

      More study of tourist trinkets is now in order.

      Marky

      • Brennen Munro

        It would not be the first time that something was reused either, take an existing blade, put a “decorative” handle on it, and call it the Kings personal Lion defense dagger! Try not to go blind looking at the masses-o-crap that came out of Africa during it’s heyday of well to do Europeans traveling to the Dark Continent and all that that represented… Ugh!

        Munro

        • Which is why I am cautious. I know it’s old by the patina, but there are old fakes. Just look at the Khyber Pass Guns coming out of ASTAN these days.

          Marky

          • Brennen Munro

            More than a few “old” things with the proper patina on it were found out to be falsified when given a closer look by someone without any skin in the game. There were enough hurt feelings for everyone involved! Money… and the stupid sh!t people do for it…

            Munro

          • Yeah. Yeah. I know the drill.

            Marky

  • BigMike57

    Late to this party, but I’d LOVE to see more pictures and different angles for this one.

    Any more progress on getting it IDed? Can you tell us where you got it?

  • BigMike57