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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Fri 06 May, 2011 9:32 pm    Post subject: Please help me find info on Judaean weapons, 1000-700 BC         Reply with quote

I am trying to help a friend with a Biblical re-enactment. I am having a hard time finding quality information on the weapons and armor in use in Palestine around 1000-700 BC. The Greek Age of Bronze site has some relevant info, but not much. I really need to find pictures of actual archaeological examples. I know that various sub-types of Nau type II swords in bronze and iron were in widespread use during this period. The Scythian and Sarmatian invasions of the Middle East fall into this period; so maybe Scytho-Sarmation weaponry would be appropriate also. I believe some of the Luristan finds are co-eval, but I have no idea if similar weapons were in use as far west as Palestine. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated.
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Sa'ar Nudel




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PostPosted: Sat 07 May, 2011 11:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Technically, the period of 1000-700BCE falls within the Iron II period (it ends at 586BCE), a time that suposedly iron was all around and well mastered, while the Iron I period (1200-1000BCE) was the shifting period from bronze to iron. Unfortunately there are so few weaponry artefacts well documented from that period, while many more are alleged and come from shady sources. The best reference has been, for many years, and still is, Yadin's The Art of War in Biblical Lands (1963), a large, comprehensive work full of photos & illustrations, published both in Hebrew and English - and it is very hard to find Sad . But sometimes new fish jumps out to the net, check this fabolous sword: http://www.oriental-arms.com/item.php?id=4500
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Sat 07 May, 2011 12:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you Sa'ar. Do you think these Luristan swords would be in use as far west as the Levant? It is certainly radically different than the Nau II swords that I know of that have been found in the Levant. I am having a hard time imagining how that hilt would function. Checking back to the Greek Age of Bronze site, I saw that the latest bronze Nau II swords in the Levant date to about 1100BC, while in Europe they persisted a few more centuries, so you were right on there. I was planning on using iron/steel for the sword anyways. Would bronze still be in use for spear heads, maces, axes and the like during this period? It seems that I remember an axe with narrow iron blade set in a bronze socket shaped like a boar from about this time and place, but I can't remember where I saw it. I really appreciate the lead on the book, I will try to track down a copy. This is indeed a most challenging period to research.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 07 May, 2011 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sa'ar Nudel wrote:
check this fabolous sword: http://www.oriental-arms.com/item.php?id=4500

This is either a fake or an illegally looted artefact from Luristan.
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Chuck Russell




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PostPosted: Sat 07 May, 2011 4:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.larp.com/hoplite/bronze.html

check out Matt Amt's site. has great pictures, biblio etc
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Sat 07 May, 2011 7:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the plug, Chuck! Though a better place might be the Bronze Age Center, since I don't have a lot of stuff pertinant to the current discussion.

http://s8.invisionfree.com/Bronze_Age_Center/index.php?

(Remember to use a real name if you register, please!)

One of the things that makes this era a real challenge is that the entire dating system is messed up. The "orthodox" Bronze Age dates are all inflated by 2 or 3 centuries due to errors in interpreting the Egyptian King list. This leaves whole chunks of Palestinian history floating around unattached to the rest of the world, with archeological sites separated from their people and events by decades or centuries. The very fact that the Naue II sword is believed to have been used in very different eras in not-so-distant places is evidence of this! My site has a page on the chronology with some excellent links to follow.

Good luck!

Matthew
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Sa'ar Nudel




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PostPosted: Sun 08 May, 2011 6:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Sa'ar Nudel wrote:
check this fabolous sword: http://www.oriental-arms.com/item.php?id=4500

This is either a fake or an illegally looted artefact from Luristan.


Dan, this is a harsh statement. Do you have particular professional education on that subject? Do you know who Oriental-Arms are? Do you know where Luristan is and what is its current status? Check my signature - I do not promote trafficking of illeagal antiquities, this is my reputation and make of living.

Scott - yes, Luristan weapons are not rare finds in local excavations, but mostly on Late Bronze and Iron I sites. Please explain, I'm not aware of the term Nau. Try to look for Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian iconography. To my best knowledge, at that period there are no axes while bronze have remained in use for spear heads and arrow heads (you can find even Roman period arrow heads made of bronze), and of course for scale armour. The old pear-shaped mace heads may also been still in use.
One other thing: please do not use the term Palestine (coined by Herodotos during the 5th century BCE) as it is wrong for the period discussed. Correct terms may be Land of Israel or Kna'an.

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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Sun 08 May, 2011 7:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sa'ar, I stand corrected. Land of Israel or K'naan it is. Nau type II swords refers to a type of sword originating in northern Italy, from whence it spread to both Europe and the Levant area. (Correct me if I am wrong, but that is the proper name for the east coast of the mediterranian?) It appears to have been in use for about 700 years and is found in both bronze and iron. The Nau type II swords are similar in general appearance to the Halstatt Gudlingen (sp?) type swords. Iron examples are known from the Levant area from about 1000-900 BC, so I will probably go with that. I just need to figure out which other weapons and armor are co-eval and appropriate.

Many thanks to all who replied, you are making a difficult research project much easier for me.
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Sa'ar Nudel




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PostPosted: Sun 08 May, 2011 8:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott, my pleasure Big Grin
Ok, I'm aware of the Halstat culture, but never heard of such swords in my greater area. Please send some links. Levant is a most correct term (we use it all the time) which includes Israel, Lebanon and Syria. Technologically, it is one region with sub-cultures, for many periods.

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 08 May, 2011 2:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sa'ar Nudel wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
Sa'ar Nudel wrote:
check this fabolous sword: http://www.oriental-arms.com/item.php?id=4500

This is either a fake or an illegally looted artefact from Luristan.


Dan, this is a harsh statement. Do you have particular professional education on that subject? Do you know who Oriental-Arms are? Do you know where Luristan is and what is its current status? Check my signature - I do not promote trafficking of illeagal antiquities, this is my reputation and make of living.

As soon as you see statements like "may be Luristan" you can practically guarantee that the weapon was looted. Many items allegedly from Luristan that are in the private market were looted. Artefacts from this region have been looted for centuries. I'd bet that whoever sold this item can't demonstrate that it has a legitimate provinence. This is a good summary of the problem
http://www.scribd.com/doc/2326314/luristanbronzes

Scott is exactly right about the origins and spread of the Naue II typologies. It would have been a popular sword in the Levant during the time in question.
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Sun 08 May, 2011 2:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sa'ar, check out the Greek Age of Bronze site. Mostly Greek examples, but some are from the Levant and Cyprus.
Would duck-bill axes have possibly survived as late as 1000 BC? I love duck-bill axes and would be willing to stretch things a bit just to add such a beatiful weapon to my kit. A 200 year old heirloom might not have been the norm, but doesn't seem to entirely stretch credulity.

Dan, as to your comment, while I see how it could be seen as harsh and maybe even unfounded without specific information about an individual piece, I certainly understand your passion on the subject of archaeological looting. It is indeed a travesty that so much of our history is being stolen from us around the world. I have no doubt that Sa'ar is being truthful when he says that he does everything in his power to not promote the traffic of illegal looted weapons. However, criminals are criminals, and can be quite devious at slipping through the cracks. I hope I have not offended anyone, or that I am inappropriately sticking my nose where it doesn't belong. Anyway, I'll get back on topic.

Is there any archaeological evidence for bows incorporating bronze components? I believe there is more than one reference in the Old Testament to bows of bronze, but I am having a hard time conceptualizing just how that would work.
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Sun 08 May, 2011 2:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sa'ar, I guess I wasn't paying attention when you said axes had fallen out of use by this period. No axes!? Ouch! Oh well, you can't always have everything you want, especially when you are trying to stay true to the history.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 08 May, 2011 2:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Woodruff wrote:
Is there any archaeological evidence for bows incorporating bronze components? I believe there is more than one reference in the Old Testament to bows of bronze, but I am having a hard time conceptualizing just how that would work.

Some bows were covered in birch bark and decorated with precious metals - gold, bronze, tin, etc.
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Sun 08 May, 2011 4:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Now that makes sense. I would be interested in the details, but just having a basic idea, I can reconstruct something that is at least believable. Thank you Dan.
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Sa'ar Nudel




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PostPosted: Mon 09 May, 2011 12:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan, I understand your point. Problem is that different countries deal differently with the problem of antiquity looting, and it is also a major issue of education. Thee are thousands of artefacts in the market, some of them change hands for over a century, some of them have artificial pedigree. During the 1950-1960's Iran have issued "private" excavation permits for people who had the sufficient funds; they were part of established universities, but the best artefacts made their way to the homes of the funders.
Scott, I slightly remember a reference concerning at least one bow with decorative rings covering the wood, made of thin gilded sheet bronze.
As for the Greek/Micenean area weapons, well, you probably know the famous long Micenean decorated iron daggers. The Medinat-Habu relief of Ramses III shows in details the weaponry of the Egyptians and the invaders (People of the Sea) - this is the eve of Iron I. The egyptians were still avid users of the Khepsh.

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Jamie Szudy




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PostPosted: Mon 09 May, 2011 12:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Do recall that the Luristan bronzes really only began to show up in the 1930s, and I've got to back Dan on this...the vast majority were looted, and virtually none have any established provenance, alas. O.W. Muscarella has written extensively about this issue, and while I would not go quite so far as him, one does still need always maintain a healthy dose of skepticism when dealing with artifacts of unknown provenance - not only may they be forgeries, they may also be genuine artifacts given a false provenance or modified to raise their value. Muscarella tends to advocate ignoring any questionable artifact, which I think is needlessly strict, but it is true that one must always remember the issue of provenance so as to avoid building a house of cards based on an artifact which may not be genuine. Which sucks for me, because the uncertain provenance of a bronze arrowhead mold in the British Museum effectively scuppers a rather nice theory I had about arrowhead manufacture in the late Neo-Assyrian period...

I would also suggest that referring to "Luristan" swords in Palestine, to avoid confusion, it is probably better to call them "Luristan-style" swords, since there is no indication if they were imported all the way from Luristan or simply produced locally following international weapons styles.

As far as the arms and armour of Palestine in the early 1st Millennium go, as Sa'ar said, the best place to look is Assyrian (and to a lesser extent) Babylonian iconography. Remember that Mesopotamian culture heavily influenced the smaller states and ethnic groups near it, and I think it likely that the Judahites and Israelites adopted, as far as possible, Assyrian styles of military kit (though this point is very much debatable, for lack of evidence). There isn't so much about Mesopotamian iconography on the web, but fortunately, many of the old publications of Assyrian reliefs are available as free downloads via the University of Chicago Go to http://www.etana.org/coretexts and search for under core texts.

- Hall, H. R. (Harry Reginald). Babylonian and Assyrian sculpture in the British Museum. ETANA. 1928. (Book) [more]

- King, L.W. ; Budge, E.A. Wallis. Bronze reliefs from the gates of Shalmaneser, King of Assyria, B.C. 860-825. ETANA. 1915. (Book)

- Barnett, Richard David. Sculptures from the north palace of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (668-627 BC). ETANA. 1976. (Book)

Archaeological pickings are rather more sparse, unfortunately, from what I have seen (my area of study is Assyria). I can't recall any significant armour finds from Palestine, though there are a number of weapons. If you can get your hands on Yadin, that has the best summary of everything that was available up to the mid 1960s. For more recent materials, you'll need to check out excavation reports. There was a lot of material from Lachish, from the destruction level associated with the Assyrian attack.

The Scythian invasion (assuming Herodotus got it essentially right) did indeed happen in this period, and whether or not they actually ruled for 40 years, Scythian-style artifacts start to appear in the late 7th century BC. However, the only part of Scythian military equipment that seems to have been wholeheartedly adopted by other peoples is the cast bronze arrowheads they used, and that happened a bit after the period you state (if you want far, far more details on that than you ever wanted, PM me...it is the subject of my PhD thesis...).

One final note, if the Luristan sword posted above ( http://www.oriental-arms.com/item.php?id=4500 ) is genuine, the description leaves much to be desired. If the blade is indeed iron rather than bronze, it was most certain NOT cast iron. Cast iron may have been made that early in China, but certainly not in Iran, and in any case, it would be quite a useless material for swords, unless one enjoys having one's blade shatter at the first blow.
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Mon 09 May, 2011 10:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Many thanks to all of you. I have gone from grasping at straws to having some good solid leads.
Jamie, as soon as I learn how, I will PM you, I am most interested. I dropped out of modern society for about ten years, so I am just a baby when it comes to all this modern technology stuff. I am about to get my very first cell phone soon!
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Jamie Szudy




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PostPosted: Mon 09 May, 2011 1:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No problem, just go to the bottom of my post here and click with "send PM" button, then it works pretty much like email.
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Kevin Rolly




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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2011 1:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Being someone who is doing the exact same thing (except in photos).....may I ask what story is being re-enacted?
-Kevissimo
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Sa'ar Nudel




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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2011 11:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jamie Szudy wrote:
One final note, if the Luristan sword posted above ( http://www.oriental-arms.com/item.php?id=4500 ) is genuine, the description leaves much to be desired. If the blade is indeed iron rather than bronze, it was most certain NOT cast iron. Cast iron may have been made that early in China, but certainly not in Iran, and in any case, it would be quite a useless material for swords, unless one enjoys having one's blade shatter at the first blow.


Indeed. I checked this sword in person, of course it is NOT cast but forged iron and even shows some flexibility - as much as I would dare to flex a 3000 years old artefact. The hilt is likely to be of different piece and an x-ray photo would have helped greatly.

I visited yesterday the recently re-opened Israel Museum and there is much to see, including the few weapon artefact from the discussed period. A bunch of arrowheads from Lachish (the siege of Sennacherib, 701BCE) are surprisingly made of iron, rather bronze, but a magnificent large (almost half a meter) spear head is all bronze. The best item is of course a unique, meter-long steel sword found near Jericho (during an excavation, properly documented), of the same period.


One the best sources is the relief from Sennacherib's palace at Nineveh, showing that siege: http://www.bible-history.com/sketches/assyria...etch-1.gif

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