Ceremonial or deadly serious? New insight into the function of irish early bronze age halberds

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Title: Ceremonial or deadly serious? New insight into the function of irish early bronze age halberds
Authors: O'Flaherty, Ronan
Gilchrist, M. D.
Cowie, Trevor
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/5898
Date: 2011
Abstract: This paper describes a series of highly focused experiments, carried out under laboratory conditions, as part of a wider Irish-Scottish project which is investigating the function of the Early Bronze Age halberd. Earlier trials showed that these artefacts, when hafted properly, were capable of piercing sheep-skulls without suffering significant damage and that by extension they were therefore capable of being used as weapons. Having observed that up to 50% of museum specimens bore evidence of edge damage, a new set of laboratory trials were undertaken to replicate this damage and to determine how it occurred and under what circumstances. Thse trials indicate that most of the edge damage on Irish halberds results from impact with other halberds, in a yielding environment (suggesting that both halberds could move) and at tightly-controlled engergy-levels which remained capable of lethal efrect. It is argued that this is consistent with skilled combat-use and that many of the Irish halberds must have been employed to such end.
Type of material: Book Chapter
Publisher: British Archaeological Reports
Keywords: Halberds;Bronze Age;Function;Edge damage;Replica;Experimental testing
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Is part of: Uckelmann, Marion; Modlinger, Marianne (eds.). Bronze Age Warfare: Manufacture and Use of Weaponry
Appears in Collections:Mechanical & Materials Engineering Research Collection

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