Obsidian was valued in Stone Age cultures because, like flint, it could be fractured to produce sharp blades or arrowheads. Like all glass and some other types of naturally occurring rocks, obsidian breaks with a characteristic conchoidal fracture. It was also polished to create early mirrors. Modern archaeologists have developed a relative dating system, obsidian hydration dating, to calculate the age of obsidian artifacts.
Ancient Egyptian Mirror
Gold foil, silver, glass, alabaster, obsidian, porphyritic diorite
Dynasty 18, reign of Thutmose lll
ca. 1479-1425 B.C.
From the tomb of the three minor wives of Thutmose lll in the
Wady Gabbanat el-Qurud, Thebes
This funerary ogject belonged to one of three foreign (Semitic) wives of Thutmose lll, Maruta, Manhata, and Manuwai. Maruta may, in fact, be the hieroglyphic version of the familiar Hebrew name Marta. The mirror was discovered, together with vessels and other objects, in a rock-cut cave situated high up in the desert mountain cliffs of the Wady Gabbanat el-Qurud in western Thebes.
The face with cow's ears on this mirror is an emblem of Hathor, the goddess of beauty.