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Harry Marinakis




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Jan, 2014 8:09 am    Post subject: Bronze Age scabbard references?         Reply with quote

Okay, I'm getting a bit frustrated trying to find references for Bronze Age scabbards.
Anyone have any good references, museums collections, etc., that would be useful?

I have a couple of Neil Burridge swords (late Bronze Age - Mycenaean G2b and Witham) that are in need of period scabbards.

I've found a lot of examples of other people's interpretations but they generally lack definite references.

This website is excellent
http://www.salimbeti.com/micenei/weapons1.htm
but again trying to find the original sources has not been easy.

Also, looking for info on how the scabbards were hung from the baldrics. I've seen some drawing of crossed straps across the front of the scabbard, and some suspensions with rings.

Thanks


Last edited by Harry Marinakis on Sat 11 Jan, 2014 3:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Philip Melhop




Location: Wokingham, Berkshire, UK
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PostPosted: Sat 11 Jan, 2014 1:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are some parts of a Bronze Age scabbard in the Museum of London, overlaping bronze bands with the remains of a wooden core. Otherwise you are stuck with iconographic references, I used the Mykonos vase as a design basis, Tod did the work
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Jan, 2014 6:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Welcome to the frustration of the Bronze Age! Yes, there are very few remains, only a few gold and ivory scabbard parts from Mycenae, and none of those show any suspension details (that I've seen). The Mykonos Vase is worlds better than most Mycenaean artwork as far as scabbard details. On the Pylos frescoes we can see a baldric that is tied at the shoulder, but no idea how it's attached to the scabbard itself. So I just wrap it around and tie it at the back, maybe with a couple little nails to keep it in place.

From farther west and north in Europe, there are a few bronze scabbard bits that survive, sometimes just a couple of rings, but at least one of the Danish oak coffin scabbards had a bronze wire rig that formed two loops, which I based my yellow Naue II scabbard suspension on:



There are few organic scabbards or fragments besides the Danish ones, one of which I remember being wood laths with a spiral wrapping of bark strips. But not from Greece!

Generally we're stuck with trying to imitate the tiny and inadequate artwork with nothing but organic materials, tying, stitching, and gluing to get something functional that looks like the depictions. Frustrating is the word.

Sorry, wish I could tell you more!

Matthew
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Matthew Bunker




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PostPosted: Sun 12 Jan, 2014 3:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Is it only Mediterranean ones that you're interested in?
I've got some good photos of the Danish "Store Kongehoj" sword and scabbard which has some lovely carved decoration.

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Philip Melhop




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PostPosted: Sun 12 Jan, 2014 4:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I should add there are a number of scabbard chapes in the Museum of Londons Bronze Age collection. What is not clear is if these were fitted to scabbards for bronze swords; or if they were for later iron weapons.
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Harry Marinakis




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Jan, 2014 5:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Philip, I looked at those chapes.
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Kai Lawson




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Jan, 2014 9:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are a few scabbards (one full sword scabbard, one dagger scabbard) here:

http://1501bc.com/page/Umha_Aois_2008/Nationa...index.html

the dagger scabbard looks like leather or some hide or bark affair, while the sword scabbard looks like carved wood. Hope this is helpful

"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Harry Marinakis




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PostPosted: Fri 06 Jun, 2014 3:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well...... Here's what I did for my scabbard.
Poplar core
Leather sheath
Leather strap
Hammered bronze chape and band
Red wool threads
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J. Nicolaysen




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PostPosted: Fri 06 Jun, 2014 4:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Harry, you did a great job on that handle. The mammoth and gold look awesome. Just stunning, I love the mammoth texture and color. Well done. The scabbard looks really good too. Since there is so little surviving example I guess the best we can do is try to stay in the spirit of the age and place with good materials. Would you mind putting a pic up of the back side of the scabbard so we can see how the scabbard is attached to the baldric?

I don't know how I missed this thread when I was searching for scabbard threads a bit ago for my own Ewart Park. So thanks for that too.

Matthew Bunker, if you are checking back in on this thread, I would like to see the pictures of the danish sword and scabbard you reference earlier. Thanks in advance.

This has been a helpful thread for me to look at these scabbards for what I may try to do, although it is a completely different type and period of bronze sword.
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Matthew Bunker




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PostPosted: Fri 06 Jun, 2014 5:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This one...from Store Kongehoj, dated to 1400BC. The earliest example of a tradition of carved wooden scabbards that lasted for at least 1800 years.


 Attachment: 227.74 KB
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"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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J. Nicolaysen




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PostPosted: Fri 06 Jun, 2014 8:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow...that's actually pretty stunning. To have lasted so long with such a nice carving...Thanks for that. Do you know if the scabbard was lined with anything like wool or felt?
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Matthew Bunker




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PostPosted: Sat 07 Jun, 2014 12:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No evidence of a surviving liner in it or any of the other ones I know of from Scandinavia.
"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Harry Marinakis




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PostPosted: Sat 07 Jun, 2014 7:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is a photo of the back on my scabbard. The baldric strap was glued across the front of the wood core, then the strap tails were crossed behind the scabbard and exit the leather cover at a 45 degree angle. No historical precedence, just a practical solution.




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Mark Griffin




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PostPosted: Sun 08 Jun, 2014 1:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good grief Matt, that's a stunning scabbard. I have a fair few of Neils blades here...sorely tempted. I'm thinking maybe the carver was trying to evoke a horses head with the design at the top maybe?
Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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Harry Marinakis




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PostPosted: Tue 16 Dec, 2014 7:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So... Is the following a good summary of Bronze-Age scabbards? Please comment. Specific references would be appreciated, including written documents, frescoes and images in museum collections. I have a need for a few photos. Thank you.

Almost all of the extant Bronze-Age sword scabbards are bronze, so it is tempting to conclude that most Bronze-Age scabbards were bronze. However there are a few surviving wooden scabbards from the Bronze Age, and there are many depictions on ancient Greek pottery of scabbards that appear to be made from materials other than bronze. These pottery depictions lack detail but do show a variety of sword scabbards slung from baldrics.

Many of the scabbards depicted on ancient Greek pottery appear to be wrapped in a spiral fashion with either a textile or leather. However, some wood scabbards were left bare. In the National Museum of Denmark there is an beautiful and intricately-carved wood scabbard that has no evidence that it had any type of covering at all.

Many of the scabbards also have a locket, which may play a role in attaching the scabbard to the baldric. Often the scabbards have both a locket and a large, bulbous chape. There is one fragment of a krater in the Patras Archeological Museum that shows what appears to a fringe on the side of a scabbard (NEED PHOTO).

The baldric straps appear to rather thin (less than one inch wide). A Mycenaean fresco from the palace at Tiryns shows that the baldric was tied in a knot over one shoulder (NEED PHOTO), which suggest that the baldric is a very soft material like a textile or a very supple leather. There is one surviving scabbard with a suspension ring and a piece of the leather strap still attached. (NEED PHOTO)
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Tue 16 Dec, 2014 9:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Harry Marinakis wrote:
Almost all of the extant Bronze-Age sword scabbards are bronze, so it is tempting to conclude that most Bronze-Age scabbards were bronze.


Um, *bronze* scabbards for bronze swords? I don't know of *any*, offhand! There are certainly bronze scabbards for Italian bronze *daggers* from the Villanovan era (Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age), as well as for a few iron ones. And I think there are bronze scabbards for iron Celtic swords though I may be remembering iron ones. There are also some bronze chapes and a couple other fittings. But as far as I know, the few remaining Bronze Age sword scabbards are wood and/or leather.

Quote:
Many of the scabbards also have a locket, which may play a role in attaching the scabbard to the baldric. Often the scabbards have both a locket and a large, bulbous chape.


I had thought that surviving throats were much less common than chapes. The throats on Villanovan bronze scabbards were typically bone or wood. And it's clear that throats on *Iron* Age Greek scabbards had nothing to do with suspension, though I don't know what sort of firm conclusions we can draw from the Bronze Age with so little information.

Remember, "Bronze Age" is a huge span of time and area, and things you find in one time or place don't necessarily apply to another. But I'm not sure what your purpose or need is, here.

Matthew
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Harry Marinakis




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PostPosted: Fri 19 Dec, 2014 5:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Matt
Do you have any specific references for wood scabbards? I've been looking and haven't found anything.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Fri 19 Dec, 2014 10:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There were several wooden scabbards found in the Danish oak coffins. One is attached above by Matthew Bunker, and I'm betting Kai Lawson's link to Jeroen Z's museum photos is probably a good bet to find more. I did a copy of the Barde Store Hoj scabbard, myself, though I don't recommend oak for the project!



(And that scabbard is the wrong date for the Ewart Park sword, sorry...)

"The Mound People" by PV Glob is the book I used for much of the Danish items I've made.

Matthew
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Harry Marinakis




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PostPosted: Fri 19 Dec, 2014 12:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
There were several wooden scabbards found in the Danish oak coffins....


Thanks

I am looking for specifics. Unfortuantely none of the links above that you mention are primary data sources and so are not that useful to me. And the museum pics are not useful without the written documentation. ):
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Gregory J. Liebau




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PostPosted: Fri 19 Dec, 2014 5:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wood, leather and horn are all evidenced as at least partial resources for scabbard construction in the late bronze age, and no purely bronze scabbards have been found that I am aware of. However, a variety of bronze bits have accompanied LBA swords and help to suggest details such as profiles and fittings for the scabbard cores that have since rotted away. In other cases, entire wooden scabbards have remained.

Not wanting to eschew credit for the photos shown in the threads below, I have linked them in full. Below you can find details about LBA scabbards/fittings mostly from Central and Northern Europe.

http://z8.invisionfree.com/Bronze_Age_Center/...topic=1693

http://z8.invisionfree.com/Bronze_Age_Center/...topic=1632

http://z8.invisionfree.com/Bronze_Age_Center/...topic=2068

http://z8.invisionfree.com/Bronze_Age_Center/...wtopic=683

And as an aside, there's no reason to doubt the veracity of the finds shown on Mr. Salimbeti's page. He happens to be a co-author of three Osprey titles about Bronze Age warfare, and has been introduced to many bits of unpublished research in that field. It is fortunate that he was interested in establishing a website and disseminating so much information through it before he and Dr. D'Amato began to publish what finds they were allowed.

Cheers!

-Gregory
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