Faceted Core



Faceted Core




ca. 3200-2700 BC


Early Cycladic


4 3/8 x 1 13/16 in. (11.1 x 4.6 cm)

Object Number



Obsidian is a dense volcanic glass formed when rhyolite lava cools so quickly that crystals do not have time to grow. It is found in several parts of the Mediterranean basin, including the Greek island of Melos, which supplied the surrounding Cyclades and mainland Greece as early as 7500 BC. On account of its mineral structure, obsidian can be chipped to give long flakes or worked into arrowheads which are extremely sharp. These long blades were the Neolithic equivalent to the modern Swiss army knife. Besides sundry everyday uses, obsidian blades may have been used to achieve the incised decoration on marble sculpture; and to this day, obsidian chips are still used in the Cycladic islands on the underside of threshing sleds. Cores of this size may also have been used as pestles to grind pigments or to hollow out vessels. The care with which this core has been crafted into fifteen facets, giving it an almost sculptural quality, implies deliberate planning. It has been suggested that cores of this size may have been made specifically for grave use.

Credit Line

Gift of Ward and Company


MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, September 2004 - September 2006|
Ancient Art of the Cyclades, Katonah Museum of Art, October 2006 - July 2007|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, July 2007 - June 19, 2014|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, July 2014 - Present
Pat Getz-Gentle, Ancient Art of the Cyclades (Katonah, New York: Katonah Museum of Art, 2006), 60, catalogue 85.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2006.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View



“Faceted Core,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed July 11, 2020, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/7698.

Social Bookmarking


Copy the code below into your web page