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A weapon of choice – experiments with a replica Irish Early Bronze Age halberd

  • Ronan O'Flaherty (a1)

The halberd – a famous weapon of prehistoric Europe – is thought by some to have had a symbolic rather than a functional purpose. To find out if, and how, it might have worked as a weapon, the author tested a replica on a number of sheep's heads, finding it highly effective in administering killer blows. Studies taking off from these experiments show that the halberd probably performed both in fighting and ritual, and in ritualised fighting, during its predominance in the Early Bronze Age.

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