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Sarissae upright: the Macedonian phalanx advancing on the battlefield

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A nice detail from (I suppose) Oliver Stone’s film on the life of Alexander the Great. We mostly see on depictions, images, reconstructions etc, the Macedonian phalanx in battle contact with the enemy force, fighting it (e.g. in the well-known exquisite artwork by Johnny Shumate below). More

A detailed map of the Punic wars in Italy and Africa

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This is a detailed map of the Punic wars in Italy and Africa depicting the major land and sea battles, cities and towns involved, and the invasion of Hannibal, Hasdrubal and Mago in Italy that almost cost Rome her own existence. The third major theatre of the military operations of the Punic Wars was Spain.
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Lost in combat?

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Republication from phys.org/

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These are the battlefield remains from the layer where objects were found at the site near the Tollense river in Weltzin. (Credit: Stefan Sauer)

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Recent archaeological investigations in the Tollense Valley led by the University of Göttingen, the State Agency for Cultural Heritage in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the University of Greifswald have unearthed a collection of 31 unusual objects. Researchers believe this is the personal equipment of a Bronze Age warrior who died on the battlefield 3,300 years ago. This unique find was discovered by a diving team headed by Dr. Joachim Krüger, from the University of Greifswald, and seems to have been protected in the river from the looting, which inevitably followed fighting. The study was published in Antiquity.

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Bronze Age swords bear the marks of skilled fighters

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Republication from Newcastle University

Image credit: wikimedia commons /wikiwand

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Warriors during the Bronze Age used their weapons in skilful ways that would have required lots of training in specific techniques, researchers say.

Skilled techniques

A team led by Newcastle University examined thousands of marks on Bronze Age swords and staged experimental fights using replica weapons to better understand how they might have been used in the Bronze Age and the combat techniques that were needed.

Bronze – cast by mixing copper and tin – is softer than steel, meaning that it can be easily damaged. Until now, much speculation has focused on the possibility that because they are easy to damage, the ancient weapons were ceremonial rather than intended for battle.

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Ancient DNA sheds light on the origins of the Biblical Philistines

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Republication from  heritage daily

Peleset, captives of the Egyptians, from a graphic wall relief at Medinet Habu, in about 1185-52 BC, during the reign of Ramesses III. They are identified to be the Biblical Philistines (Wikimedia commons).

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An international team, led by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the Leon Levy Expedition, retrieved and analyzed, for the first time, genome-wide data from people who lived during the Bronze and Iron Age (~3,600-2,800 years ago) in the ancient port city of Ashkelon, one of the core Philistine cities during the Iron Age. The team found that a European derived ancestry was introduced in Ashkelon around the time of the Philistines’ estimated arrival, suggesting that ancestors of the Philistines migrated across the Mediterranean, reaching Ashkelon by the early Iron Age. This European related genetic component was subsequently diluted by the local Levantine gene pool over the succeeding centuries, suggesting intensive admixture between local and foreign populations. These genetic results, published in Science Advances, are a critical step toward understanding the long-disputed origins of the Philistines.

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The road to Scandinavia’s bronze age: Trade routes, metal provenance, and mixing

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Republication from phys.org/

British-developed bronze flat-axe from Selchausdal, northwest Zealand (NM B5310, photo: Nørgaard). The 20-cm-long axe has a geometric decoration covering the surface. Low-impurity copper is alloyed with 10% Sn. Scandinavia holds the largest proportion of British type axes outside the British Isles 2000-1700 BC. Credit: Heide W. Nørgaard (2019)

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The geographic origins of the metals in Scandinavian mixed-metal artifacts reveal a crucial dependency on British and continental European trading sources during the beginnings of the Nordic Bronze Age, according to a study published July 24, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Heide W. Nørgaard from Aarhus University, Denmark, and colleagues.

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