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Andy Ternay




Location: Dallas
Joined: 21 Feb 2009
Reading list: 10 books

Posts: 51

PostPosted: Mon 14 Oct, 2013 6:46 pm    Post subject: Bronze Age Combat Research         Reply with quote

Researchers at Newcastle University are attempting to recreate (to a certain extent) bronze age combat and then conducting extensive use-wear analysis on the weapons used to see how the marks and damage compare to bronze age weapons in museum collections. They are using reproductions of bronze age weapons and shields by Neil Burridge for this series of experiments.

It appears they utilized quite a few weapons in this experiment:
Quote:

Here is the equipment used in the combat experiment. All weapons were cast by traditional bronze smith Neil Burridge (Bronze Age Craft) using 12% tin-bronze, and their edges were subsequently work-hardened and sharpened to a razor finish; the sword handles and pommels are made from oak, while the spear shafts and axe handles are seasoned ash. The two shields, faithful copies of the prehistoric Clonbrin shield (Ireland), were made using vegetable-tanned leather hide. They were shrunk in hot water and beaten into a wooden former, then carefully dried and coated in bees' wax...

Sword [SW1]: Type: Wilburton. Chronology: 1200-1000/900 BC. Length: 56.2cm. Weight: 511.5g
Sword [SW2]: Type: Ewart Park. Chronology: 1000/900-700 BC. Length: 65.8cm. Weight: 701.4g
Sword [SW3]: Type: Carp's Tongue. Chronology: 1000/900-700 BC. Length: 74.5cm. Weight: 761.5g
Sword [SW4]: Type: Urnfields (European). Chronology: 1300-1000/900 BC. Length: 59.5cm. Weight: 938.2g
Spear [SP1]: Type: short head. Chronology: c.1200-800 BC. Length: 189.5cm. Weight: 824.3g
Spear [SP2]: Type: short head. Chronology: c.1200-800 BC. Length: 190.9cm. Weight: 717.3g
Spear [SP3]: Type: long head. Chronology: c.1300-1000/900 BC. Length: 120.4cm. Weight: 513.6g
Spear [SP4]: Type: long head. Chronology: c.1300-1000/900 BC. Length: 117.0cm. Weight: 528.6
Axe [AX1]: Type: socketed. Chronology: c.1200-800 BC. Length: 67.3cm. Weight: 1006.7g
Axe [AX2]: Type: socketed. Chronology: c.1200-800 BC. Length: 67.8cm. Weight: 1065.3g
Shield [SH1]: Type: Clonbrin. Chronology: 1300-1000 BC? Diameter: 59.7cm. Weight: 1778g
Shield [SH1]: Type: Clonbrin (with sewn-on boss). Chronology: 1300-1000 BC? Diameter: 59.0cm. Weight: 1504g


The weapons were also given a workout:

Quote:
The experimental protocol encompassed a great number of sword strikes delivered to different body parts in both static and kinetic environments. Parries, both static and kinetic, were executed with the sword edge, the sword flat, and the shield. The shields were then mounted onto two targets, one man-size ('Peter the dummy') and one larger; these were employed for those strikes deemed too dangerous to be carried out against an opponent. The targets were used for sword thrusts (to test shield penetration and tip damage), axe attacks, and spear combat; the latter included both thrusts and throws carried out from different distances, with different spear-heads, and with shafts of different length. We also tested the short-shaft spears in slashing attacks against another spear, a sword, and a shield. Finally, we recreated a number of hypothetic small-group combat scenarios, trying a series of attacks and defences adapted from modern and historic British infantry tactics.


The results have not yet been published; they are due to be released in November.

Here is the website of the researchers: https://sites.google.com/site/bronzeagecombat/

Here is an article on the experiments with some photos of the weapons: http://www.historyextra.com/news/researchers-...ge-weapons

If you are not familiar with Neil Burridge's bronze reproductions you can see them at his site: http://www.bronze-age-swords.com

I hope to update with some of the conclusions when the results are published.

Cheers to Neil for producing the weapons and shields for the experiment!

"Precious swords...since there for a thousand winters they had rested in the earth's embrace." ~ Beowulf 3048 - 50
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,184

PostPosted: Mon 14 Oct, 2013 9:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looking forward to reading this but Barry Molloy's work should be read first.

http://www.academia.edu/1552481/Martial_Minoa..._Age_Crete
http://www.academia.edu/1289907/Use-wear_anal...Age_swords

B. Molloy, ‘What’s the Bloody Point? Bronze Age Swordsmanship in Ireland and Britain,’ in The Cutting Edge: Studies in Ancient and Medieval Combat (Tempus: Stroud, 2007).
B. Molloy, Martial arts and materiality: a combat archaeology perspective on Aegean Swords of the fifteenth and fourteenth centuries BC.
B. Molloy, ‘For Gods or men? A reappraisal of the function of European Bronze Age shields’, Antiquity, Vol. 83 (2009).
B. Molloy, ‘Swords and Swordsmanship in the Aegean Bronze Age,’ American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 114, No. 3, (2010).
B. Molloy, Martial arts and materiality: a combat archaeology perspective on Aegean swords of the fifteenth and fourteenth centuries BC http://www.academia.edu/317871/Martial_Arts_a...nturies_Bc
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