An alloy of copper and tin, the secret of its production probably came to Egypt from Western Asia. A number of ritual bronze vessels date as far back as the 2nd Dynasty. They were found in a royal tomb at Abydos. Only in the Middle Kingdom did the number of bronze objects expand, including vessels, tools, weapons and a single statuette. At this time it is possible that bronze was still mainly being imported. In the New Kingdom bronze began to be produced on a larger scale, possibly because of simplified techniques. From the Late Period on, in particular from the Saite period, a great number of votive statuettes of gods were made of bronze. The technique used was the so-called 'lost wax' method. A statuette was fashioned in wax, then covered in a layer of clay. Then the whole was fired in a kiln which baked the clay and melted the wax. The hollow mould was then filled with molten bronze. When it had cooled the clay layer was broken off and, if necessary, the bronze statuette finished off. To save bronze, larger statues were sometimes moulded around a core of a different, cheaper material.