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Hilts of Middle Bronze Age swords

Posted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:28 pm
by Harlequin
Any ideas on what woods were used on Middle Bronze Age swords? Hilts obviously.

I would be thinking along the lines of Western Europe here.

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:46 am
by WorkMonkey
Where abouts in Western Europe?

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:53 pm
by Harlequin
The Monkey strikes quickly: England is the preferred option.

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:40 am
by Malvoisin
I'm sure, but there's bound to be some finds out there some where. Try getting intouch with Flag Fen They have very many finds including swords and lots and lots of well preserved wood Check this out :shock:
But to play it safe I'd would go for oak or yew.

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 7:47 pm
by Harlequin
I was hoping for ash but there you go.

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:14 am
by Malvoisin
Harlequin wrote:I was hoping for ash but there you go.

If you can find evidance for any hard wood that was growing on these islands 4000 years ago I'm sure it would've been used. Hazel is very common too.
I've never heard (read) of horn, bone or a leather binding being used on the hilts though.
Drop Dave Chapman an e-mail see what he says:

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:17 pm
by Jeroen Zuiderwijk
I've got pretty much all the information on bronze age sword from the UK that is available. There's only two swords that have organic remains attached to them. One is from Ireland, and has remains of either antler or bone hilt plates, but they are in a very bad state. Another one has well preserved horn hilt plates (I'd have to look it up on my computer). There is also a sword with an organic pommel, but it's not described anywhere that I know. And lastly, a Mindelheim type sword was dredged from the Thames, which when found still had remains of a bone (?) hilt attached, but which fell apart and weren't preserved.

Aside from swords, there are some rapiers with organic hilts remaining. But I suspect you're looking for full-grip swords specifically?

As for wood, you can use any wood suitable for hilts that's indiginous. I personally prefer ash or yew (the latter is identified as an early bronze age dagger hilt).

The hilt shape on at least the Ewart Park swords is known from several bronze hilted finds. You can find reconstructions of these on my site:

Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:29 pm
by Ranger Smith
I have a copy of the city of Birmingham bronze collection some the swords/ daggers/ rapiers/ dirks in the collection have cast bronze hilts that have been cast separatly then rivited on. the collection contains both British and European examples.

If you want to take a look yourself the catalogue can be obtained from Hadrian books Oxford. BAR no 233 ISBN 0 86054 758 2 Catalogue of British and European Prehistoric Metalwork in Birmingham City Museums. By PJ Watson. It is a good sorce book of Bronze finds