Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Article contents

For Gods or men? A reappraisal of the function of European Bronze Age shields

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2015

Barry Molloy
Affiliation:
*UCD School of Archaeology, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland (Email: barrymolloy@gmail.com)
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Are the imposing, decorated copper-alloy shields of Bronze Age Europe symbolic objects or functioning weapons? The author undertakes new analysis and experiments to conclude that whether bronze, leather or wood, all shields had a range of purpose in which the ceremonial and homicidal could rarely be completely isolated.

Type
Research
Copyright
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd 2009

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

Avila, R.J.A., 1983. Bronzene Lanzen- und Pfeilspitzen der griechischen Spätbronzezeit. (Prähistorische Bronzefunde V/1). Munich: C. H. Beck.Google Scholar
Bradley, R. 1990. The passage of arms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Bridgford, S. 1997. Mightier than the pen? (An edgewise look at Irish Bronze Age swords), in Carmen, J. (ed.) Material harm: archaeological studies of war and violence: 95115. Glasgow: Cruithne Press.Google Scholar
Bridgford, S. 2000. Weapons, warfare and society in Britain 1250-750 BC. Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Sheffield.Google Scholar
Burgess, C. & Gerloff, S.. 1981. The dirks and rapiers of Great Britain and Ireland (Prähistorische Bronzefunde IV/7). Munich: C. H. Beck.Google Scholar
Catling, H. 1961. A new sword from Cyprus. Antiquity 35: 115–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Coles, J. M. 1962. European Bronze Age shields. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 28: 156–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Coles, J. M., Leach, P., Minnitt, S., Tabor, R. & Wilson, A.. 1999. A Later Bronze Age shield from South Cadbury, Somerset, England. Antiquity 23: 3348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Coulston, J. 2007. By the sword united: Roman fighting styles on the battlefield and in the arena, in Molloy, B. P. C. (ed.) The cutting edge: studies in ancient and medieval combat: 3452. Stroud: Tempus.Google Scholar
Cowen, J. D. 1951. The earliest swords in Britain and their origins on the continent of Europe. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 17: 195213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cowen, J. D. 1955. Eine Einführung in die Geschichte der bronzenen Griffzungenschwerter in Süddeutschland und den angrenzenden Gebieten. Bericht der Römisch-Germanischen Kommission des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts 36: 53155.Google Scholar
Cowen, J. D. 1966. The origins of the flange hilted sword of bronze in Continental Europe. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 32: 262312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davis, R. 2006. Basal-looped spearheads: typology, chronology, context and use (British Archaeological Reports International Series 1497). Oxford: Archaeopress.Google Scholar
Ehrenberg, M. R. 1977. Bronze Age spearheads from Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire (British Archaeological Reports 34). Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.Google Scholar
Eogan, G. 1965. Catalogue of Irish bronze swords. Dublin: National Museum of Ireland.Google Scholar
Eogan, G. 1983. The hoards of the Irish Later Bronze Age. Dublin: University College.Google Scholar
Harding, A. 2000. European societies in the Bronze Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harding, A. 2007. Warriors and weapons in Bronze Age Europe. Budapest: Archaeolingua.Google Scholar
Hedges, R. E. M., Housley, R. A., Ramsey, C. B. & Van Klinken, G. J.. 1991. Radiocarbon dates from the Oxford AMS system (Archaeometry datelist 17). Archaeometry 35: 305–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hedges, R. E. M., Housley, R. A., Ramsey, C. B. & Van Klinken, G. J. 1993. Radiocarbon dates from the Oxford AMS system (Archaeometry datelist 23). Archaeometry 39: 247–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Höckmann, O. 1980. Lanze und Speer im spätminoischen und mykenischen Griechenland. Jarbuch des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums, Mainz 27: 13158.Google Scholar
Kilian-Dirlmeier, I. 1993. Die Schwerter in Griechenland (ausserhalb der Peloponnes), Bulgarien und Albanien (Prähistorische Bronzefunde IV/5). Stuttgart: Steiner.Google Scholar
Machiavelli, N. 1560. Arte of Warre (translated by Whitehorne, P., 1905). London: David Nutt.Google Scholar
Mathieu, J. R. & Meyer, D. A.. 1997. Comparing axe heads of stone, bronze, and steel: studies in experimental archaeology. Journal of Field Archaeology 24: 333–51.Google Scholar
Molloy, B. P. C. 2006. The role of combat weaponry in Bronze Age societies: the cases of the Aegean and Ireland in the Middle and Late Bronze Age. Unpublished PhD dissertation, University College Dublin.Google Scholar
Molloy, B. P. C. 2007. What's the bloody point: swordsmanship in Bronze Age Ireland and Britain, in Molloy, B. P. C. (ed.) The cutting edge: studies in ancient and medieval combat: 90111. Stroud: Tempus.Google Scholar
Needham, S. 1979. Two recent British shield finds and their continental parallels Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 45: 111–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nicolle, D. 1992. Romano-Byzantine armies fourth to ninth centuries. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.Google Scholar
Osgood, R. 1998. Warfare in the late Bronze Age of north Europe (British Archaeological Reports International Series 694). Oxford: Archaeopress.Google Scholar
Raftery, B. 1982. Two recently discovered bronze shields from the Shannon basin. Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 112: 517.Google Scholar
Ramsey, W. G. 1989. Middle Bronze Age weapons in Ireland. Unpublished PhD dissertation. Queen's University Belfast.Google Scholar
Ramsey, W. G. 1995. Middle Bronze Age metalwork: are artefact studies dead and buried?, in Waddell, J. & Shee-Twohig, E. (ed.) Ireland in the Bronze Age proceedings of the Dublin conference, April 1995: 4962. Dublin: The Stationery Office.Google Scholar
Říhovský, J. 1996. Die Lanzen, Speer- und Pfeilspitzen in Mähren (Prähistorische Bronzefunde V/2). Stuttgart: Steiner.Google Scholar
Siddorn, J. K. 2000. Viking weapons and warfare. Stroud: Tempus.Google Scholar
Talhoffer, H. 2000. Fechtbuch (translated and edited by Rector, M.). London: Greenhill books.Google Scholar
Uckelmann, M. 2006. Schutz, Prunk und Kult - zur Funktion bronzezeitlicher Schilde. Anodos: Studies of the Ancient world 4-5: 243–9.Google Scholar
Uckelmann, M. Forthcoming. Die Schilde der Bronzezeit in Nord-, West- und Zentraleuropa (Prähistorische Bronzefunde III/4). Stuttgart: Steiner.Google Scholar
Underwood, R. 2001. Anglo-Saxon weapons and warfare. Stroud: Tempus.Google Scholar
Underwood, R. 2007. The early Anglo-Saxon shield: reconstruction as an aid to interpretation, in Molloy, B. P. C. (ed.) The cutting edge: studies in ancient and medieval combat: 134–44. Stroud: Tempus.Google Scholar
Van Wees, H. 2004. Greek warfare: myths and realities. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
Waddell, J. 2000. The prehistoric archaeology of Ireland. Wicklow: Wordwell Press.Google Scholar

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 171 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 25th January 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Hostname: page-component-898fc554b-sztd2 Total loading time: 0.292 Render date: 2021-01-25T20:42:47.691Z Query parameters: { "hasAccess": "0", "openAccess": "0", "isLogged": "0", "lang": "en" } Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false }

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

For Gods or men? A reappraisal of the function of European Bronze Age shields
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

For Gods or men? A reappraisal of the function of European Bronze Age shields
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

For Gods or men? A reappraisal of the function of European Bronze Age shields
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *