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Swordsmanship of the Bronze Age: new perceptions from Experiments

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Republication from springer.com

 

a Group IV rapier (658 mm, 565.0 g). b Kemenczei type S Vollgriffschwert (595 mm, 938.2 g). c Wilburton type sword (562 mm, 511.5 g). d Carp’s Tongue type sword (745 mm, 761.5 g). e Ewart Park type sword, the two nearest the bottom were used for the actualistic tests (top 658 mm, 701.4 g; middle 696 mm, 753.0 g; bottom 695 mm, 752.1 g)

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Abstract

The article presents a new picture of sword fighting in Middle and Late Bronze Age Europe developed through the Bronze Age Combat Project. The project investigated the uses of Bronze Age swords, shields, and spears by combining integrated experimental archaeology and metalwork wear analysis. The research is grounded in an explicit and replicable methodology providing a blueprint for future experimentation with, and wear analysis of, prehistoric copper-alloy weapons. We present a four-step experimental methodology including both controlled and actualistic experiments. The experimental results informed the wear analysis of 110 Middle and Late Bronze Age swords from Britain and Italy. The research has generated new understandings of prehistoric combat, including diagnostic and undiagnostic combat marks and how to interpret them; how to hold and use a Bronze Age sword; the degree of skill and training required for proficient combat; the realities of Bronze Age swordplay including the frequency of blade-on-blade contact; the body parts and areas targeted by prehistoric sword fencers; and the evolution of fighting styles in Britain and Italy from the late 2nd to the early 1st millennia BC.

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5000 year-old sword discovered in Venetian monastery

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Republication from livescience.com

The sword was mistakenly thought to be medieval. It is now thought to come from eastern Anatolia and to be about 5000 years-old – one of the oldest swords ever found.
(Image: © Ca’ Foscari University of Venice/Andrea Avezzù)
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A keen-eyed archaeology student made the find of a lifetime when she spotted one of the oldest swords on record, mistakenly grouped with medieval artifacts in a secluded Italian museum.

The ancient sword was thought to be medieval in origin and maybe a few hundred years old at most — but studies have shown that it dates back about 5,000 years, to what is now eastern Turkey, where swords are thought to have been invented, in the early Bronze Age.

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