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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Andrea Dolfini,
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).
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.
Author(s): Hermann R, Dolfini A, Crellin RJ, Wang Q, Uckelmann M
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory
Print publication date: 01/12/2020
Online publication date: 17/04/2020
Acceptance date: 17/04/2020
Date deposited: 28/04/2020
ISSN (print): 1072-5369
ISSN (electronic): 1573-7764
Publisher: Springer Nature
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