THE BRONZE AGE
This page last updated 3/18/11
STUFF that I have so far, Projects in Progress, Other Peoples' Toys, etc.
--Obviously, you want to click on the little images to see the bigger ones. Top priority is a Mycenaean/Achaean impression from the Late Bronze Age--think Trojan War or thereabouts. This is Greece before it was called Greece!
My first reconstruction of the Warrior
Vase figures. The blue (wool) tunic and yellow (linen) kilt
with red fringe follow the coloration of the Warrior
Stele. The horned helmet still needs a horsehair crest.
The shield should probably be crescent-shaped and made of wood, rather
than round and wicker. The cuirass is based on European
examples. The bronze greaves are from Kalithea, while the white
linen ones are just one possible interpretation of the pictoral
evidence. The object hanging from the spearshaft is reconstructed
as a leather flask (here's a detail).
The dotted kilt and mysterious ladder-like strips shown on the Vase
have been omitted, with a big shrug! There are many different
ways to interpret the various details!
A Peleset or Philistine warrior from the Medinet Habu reliefs,
commonly refered to as the "Sea People". The "feather
helmet" was a committee effort, myself and Gregory Liebau. The
distinctive clothing is interpreted here as a narrow (linen) tunic with
the lower half parti-colored and decorated with striped linen
bands. It could easily be showing a shirt and kilt of some sort,
however. Round shields with multiple bosses are clearly shown,
and these shield fittings are based on the Kaloriziki finds. The
sword is a Naue type II, but might better be a thrusting rapier or type
G stabbing sword.
Curse you, Ramses! One of the invaders captured by the Egyptians,
shown in this relief (reproduced without
permission from Yigael Yadin's Art
of Warfare in Biblical Lands). A better view of the spiffy
tunic. At several points there are little yarn tassels of red,
white, and blue--here's a close-up. The
belt is leather with a linen backing and edging, secured with a simple
bronze hook (detail view). Each
prisoner in the line wears his nation's distinctive clothing, and has
his arms bound in a different way. The Peleset gets off
lightly, with some sort of handcuffs. Mine are wood, secured with
This is a Mycenaean, probably a little earlier than the Warrior
Vase. The tunic, shoes, linen greaves, and boar tusk helmet are
based on the Pylos frescoes and other artwork. The spear and
sword come from archeological examples. The cuirass and shield
are a bit more conjectural for this impression, coming from more
My second interpretation of the Warrior Vase. The new tunic
(linen, because I had some) is trimmed with red wool, with the ladder
effect done in black wool yarn. The shield is wood planks covered
with rawhide. No armor this time, and the dots on the lower part
of the tunic are ignored with another big shrug! The rest is the
same, except that I've added the horsehair plume to the helmet.
Marching Through Time, April 14, 2007! I am joined by Dan Zeidler
(left) as a Mycenaean, and Nate Bell as an Irish warrior, with a mix of
their own stuff and mine and Steve Peffley's. We had piles of
weapons, shields, and animal hides, a lovely awning with stools and
food, and we chatted with a few hundred visitors through the day.
A reenactment of the famous vase
paintings of Achilles and Ajax gaming while Athena tries to get them to
go fight the Trojans. Dan made an Egyptian senet board on a piece
of stone countertop, and a shield on my basket makes a good
table. Athena is Deb Fuller of Legio XX. Also a better shot
of me in my Urnfield gear, complete with
fuzzy deerhide shoes.
Romulus, the Founder of Rome, at Roman Days, June 2010. My
Villanovan impression, with the classic crested helmet and the "poncho"
cuirass from Narce. See the Armor page
for more details on the helmet and cuirass. The tunic is striped
linen, the spearhead was made by Chris Levatino, and the
sword is the Witham antenna hilt from Neil Burridge.
This tunic is based on those found in the oak coffin mound burials at
Muldbjerg and Trindhoj, Denmark. The belt is fastened with the
bone ring shown below. The two spearheads were made by Neil
Burridge. And the feet are original equipment!
More details can be found on the Armor and Weapons pages. My interests are all
over the map, and you'll find
bits and pieces from a number of other eras and places. I
Britain, and there is excellent information from Denmark. Sumeria
is also way cool, and eventually I'll work my way around to Italy and
|The earlier Mycenaean tunic is copied from frescoes from Pylos. It seems to be very similar to a Roman tunica, with short sleeves, but pretty short and not as baggy. The most common color shown for men is white, with a black stripe along the top and side seams. I'm hoping to find evidence for other colors, since I wear white/undyed tunics with my Roman gear and it would be nice to be different. The tunic is often belted at the waist but not always.|
are shown as being openwork in a square grid pattern. These are
based on a Roman
with a more pointed toe. The toes curl up nicely, just like in
the frescoes. The square holes were cut with a chisel that I
ground out of an old screwdriver. Larger holes would be more
sane! The uppers are about 5-ounce, sewn to 9-ounce soles.
Bone belt rings are apparently pretty common in Early Bronze Age
Britain. This is just a slice from a dog chew bone, rasped and
filed to shape. The hole for attaching it to the belt is actually
a V-perforation, all the rage back then. The belt itself is just
a strip of calf hide, gradually tapering down to about half an inch
wide so that it can be tied through the ring. 4/07
Here are some reconstructions of Bronze Age Danish clothing, http://www.guderoggrave.dk/tema/mandsdragt.htm
(Thanks, Jeroen! And for this one: http://membres.lycos.fr/bronzeage/burials/index.html)
Bronze Age Center thread on Information on North-west European
A belt pouch copied from that found in an oak coffin burial at
Hvidegard, Denmark. It has a zipper! Two rows of leather
loops mesh together and are secured by the bronze pin. It works
quite well--easy to open and close, and very secure. Length is
about 7 inches.
|This little "dagger" or utility knife is based on those found in Wessex culture graves, Early Bronze Age Britain. It's about half the size of most of those that I have dimensions for, but at least one even smaller one is known. And that's the size of the piece of copper I had for the blade! The handle is yew, the pommel antler.|
|Aren't these cute? Brass reproductions of Mycenaean gold cups from Vaphio, probably museum gift shop items. My sister Katy picked them up at a flea market or something, and I browbeat her into giving them to me. They are about 2-1/2 inches high, teacup-sized. If there is one thing you need for reenacting, it's something to drink out of!|
And something to sit on! This is based on the folding stool found
in the oak coffin in Guldhoj, Denmark. Being limited by the wood
I had on hand (old flagpoles), I didn't quite capture the shapes of the
parts exactly. And the seat is just leather, not otter
skin! But the decoration, punched with
small chisels, came out nicely. And it works! 2/7/07
This stool is actually based on a
bed preserved from Thera, as shown in Connolly's book. It's just
pine with hardwood dowels, painted pale yellow, and about 16 inches
tall. Quite comfy, even better with a cushion. 4/20/07
Photos below are courtesy of, and copyright by, the items' owners.
is Dan Howard in a preliminary photo of the GORGEOUS reconstruction of
panoply which he got from Andrew Walpole. Total weight of
the armor is about 50 pounds, though the original was probably a little
thinner in places and therefore lighter.
The boar tusk helmet was one of the most popular helmets of the
period--pieces have been found on numerous sites, and there are many
in artwork of the time.
For a photo of the original armor, click
here. And here is a photo of
Mr. Walpole in his armor a few years ago.
|The late Michael Kasner of Portland, Oregon, with his reconstruction of a helmet based partly on the one from Tiryns. It came out too small and shallow, but is nice work anyway. August 1998.|
|Bronze Age swords in the British Museum (1984). It's a safe guess that the third one from the top is made for slashing! Couldn't tell you where or when they are from--still have a lot to learn! (Lousy picture, too, sorry about that. The "sub-space distortion" between the top 2 blades is my attempt to blur out the big camera flash glare.)|
|Bronze Age axeheads and other weapons in the British Museum. The Egyptians prefered the tanged styles, while other countries made them socketed like the four "eye-axes" in the middle (18th century BC). Top right, two duck-billed axes (17th to 16th centuries). Left, looks like tanged spearheads, and below them possibly spearheads or dagger blades (hey, even the archeologists can't always be sure!). At the very bottom seems to be 3 flat or palstave axeheads.|
|Bronze shield made by Chris Levatino. Types like this were used in Italy, the British Isles, and other areas in the late bronze age and early iron age.|
|"West Alpine" cuirass owned by Jon Fletcher, made by Noricum Replikate (see Links below). Fabulous work! Also views of the back and side, and a detail of the shoulder fastening.|
| Mycenaean sword c.
1080-950 BC, 17.5" long. Very similar to one shown in Die
Schwerter in Griechenland (ausserhalb der Peloppes), Bulgarien und
Albanien by Imma Kilian-Dirlmeier (Prahistorische Bronzefunde series
Abteilung IV, 12. Band), Tafel (Plate) 17
||"Crescent Axes were used from Syria to Egypt and have also been found in Canaan. The top axe is Syrian, the bottom is Egyptian. Both date to about 1900 (sic) BC and can be considered Early Middle Bronze Age."|
|"Lugged axes in Canaan based upon Anatolian models manufactured by the Hittites in a Palestine colony are documented in the literature."||"Here are some Canaanite daggers. They are not rare and many are available for less than $100."|
|"The earliest socketed axes were of the Eye and Duckbill styles followed by the Chisel Point axes."|
|A few of Steve Peffley's toys. First is his copy of the wood and leather shield from Clonbrin, Ireland, less than 2 feet in diameter. It has the classic V- or U-notch configuration. The second shield is based on the bronze one from Lough Gur, closer to 3 feet across. At far right, a dagger and three of Albion's axe heads. That at bottom is flat, the other two are palstave types, with the hafting done by Steve.|
Broyles sends these photos of some of his projects. The sword and
spear are from Bronze Age
the mace is from Manning Imperial,
and the Egyptian shield and linen armor that he made himself.
LINKS--Where to get Stuff
Neil Burridge--Teaches COURSES
on bronze casting using accurate historical methods!
He makes some of the best bronze weapons available:
Arrowheads! http://www.bronze-age-swords.com/aegean_swords.htm, bottom of the page.
**Or finish and hilt your own sword at
Bronze Sword Festival, http://www.bronze-age-craft.com/Bronze-Sword-Festival.htm
Warrior Art Online--Chris
Levatino, New York. http://www.warriorartonline.com
. As well as excellent sculpture, he also produces a number of
lovely bronze weapons. He says his blades are still coming out a
little heavy, but he is refining his techniques constantly and they are
Bronze Age Foundry--Dave Chapman, c/o 19 Holmwood Gdns, Finchley, London, N3 3NS, UK. http://www.bronzeagefoundry.com/. Very accurate weapons and other items, and great prices. Weapons are sold unfinished (rough from the mold) and without shafts or hilts.
UK, mainwaring AT talktalk DOT net. No website, but a few samples
of his lovely work shown at right.
Dean Cunningham, Metalsmith--Portland, OR. satans_lackey AT ya hoo DOT com. He and his assistant Geoffrey Withcliff are considering making a number of Bronze Age items, so call and bug them!
Germany--Fabulous Late Bronze Age reproductions
Manning Imperial--Craig Sitch, PO Box 27 Redan, Vic Australia 3350. Phone 03 5338 8995, http://manningimperial.com. Has done bronze spear heads and buttspikes, and now has a duck-billed axe ("Canaanite"), mace heads, and an Egyptian khopesh.
Replik--Ringstr. 2, 61130 Nidderau 5, Germany, http://www.replik.de/. Beautiful reproduction spear and axe heads, jewelry, and more.
Irish Arms-- Boyd Rankin &
Lynne Williams, Red House Farm, Claddagh, Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan,
Ireland. Phone: +353 49 8545856, http://www.irisharms.ie/.
Bronze axe and spearheads, jewelry, etc.
HReplikate-- Holger Ratsdorf,
Fabulous reproductions of weapons, jewelry, and more. His
takes a little digging to get through, but click "English" first, then
head for the Katalog, go for Bronze Age, and click through the various
Haphaestos Armoury--Tim Mayhew,
UK. t.mayhew AT btopenworld DOT com.
Bronze Age Greek, Mycenaean, and Scythian, plus Roman and Celtic
Native Way--Small bronze javelin
points and tanged spearheads, a bit rough but cheap, http://www.nativewayonline.com/.
Socketed points 3" long, largest tanged spearhead c. 5" long including
--Flintknapping and primitive technology
|OnlineMetals.com --"The Small Quantities Specialist" --PO Box 19271, Seattle, WA 98109. 800-704-2157, or 206-285-8603. http://www.onlinemetals.com/. Brass sheet and tube, shim brass (.010", .015", etc.) in rolls 6"x100", etc. Specializing in small orders.|
Anchor Bronze & Metals, Inc. - 11470
Euclid Avenue #509, Cleveland, Ohio 44106. Fax: 216-803-1151, http://www.anchorbronze.com/.
A wide variety of tin bronzes available, including real tin bronzes
such as copper alloy no. C90700.
Atlas Bronze--445 Bunting Ave., Trenton,
NJ 08611. Toll-free: 877-554-0443. http://www.atlasbronze.com/.
Real tin bronzes in cast bar form! Other alloys in bar or sheet.
T.B. Hagstoz & Son--http://www.hagstoz.com/.
Bronze and copper sheet in several thicknesses, and more.
Copper and Brass Sales--http://www.copperandbrass.com/public/division/project/html/home.html
Red brass sheet and wire (also silver, yellow brass, and copper), plus
jewelry-making tools and supplies
Moscow Hide and Fur--PO Box
Moscow, Idaho 83843. 208-882-0601, fax: 208-882-5715. http://www.hideandfur.com/
Leather, hides, BOARS' TEETH, ETC.
Boone Trading Company--PO Box
669, 562 Coyote Rd., Brinnon, WA 98320. 1-800-423-1945, http://www.boonetrading.com/index.html.
BOAR TUSKS listed under "Misc. Raw Materials". Also ivory and
Unlimited--World's largest selection of antler's.
Wild Boar Reserve--http://www.BigTusks.com. Boar
(For other armorers and suppliers of
materials, see the Legio
XX Suppliers page.)
--Yes, Deepeeka in India is now
offering some Mycenaean and other Greek items. I have not seen
them up close so can only judge by the photos, but I wouldn't get too
excited! Presumably their swords are the usual triple weight.
Their Dendra panoply seems to be reasonably
accurate in shape, but rumored to be fiberglass. (And why that
odd color?) Probably "one size fits few", as well. Their
figure-8 shield (whatever they call it) is also good in basic outline,
but the cowhide pattern is painted on and the spine looks bad.
What is it made out of, and how deep is it? Their boar tusk
helmet (labeled "boser" helmet, for some reason) just doesn't grab
me. The shape seems wrong, and no idea what those tusks are made
out of. They also offer the icky gray shield and helmet worn by
Brad Pitt in "Troy"--too bad, since the dipylon shield is actually
pretty nice in outline and would look good if brightly painted or faced
with polished bronze.
LINKS--Where to get
Bronze Age Center--A discussion
forum just for us!
Bronze Age Reenacting Yahoo group,
Bronze Age Living in the Netherlands, by Jeroen Zuiderwijk--http://1501bc.com/index_en.html. Also his photographs from various museums, http://1501bc.com/page/index2.html, and from Archeon, an Archeological theme park in the Netherlands--http://1501bc.com/page/. Photographic report of Jeroen's visit to the National Museum (National Museet) in Kopenhagen, July 2003, http://membres.lycos.fr/bronzeage/Bronze Age Craft, by Neil Burridge--Teaches COURSES on bronze casting using accurate historical methods! http://www.bronze-age-craft.com/. Also http://www.bronze-age-craft.com/swordcasting.htm
Chicago Homer--Multilingual searchable database--http://www.library.northwestern.edu/homer/
and Whence the Sea Peoples?" by Jon Smyth, on the Bronze Age
Timeless Myths: The Trojan War--http://www.timelessmyths.com/classical/trojanwar.html
The Armies of Sumer and Akkad,
Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur--The
Oriental Institute Museum, Chicago
Tour of Egypt pages on "Sea
Peoples", etc., with a few errors or debatable points, http://touregypt.net/featurestories/seapeople.htm
John died in July 2005. He was a collector with
many bronze weapons and good information. His Yahoo discussion
groups are still active, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ancientweapons,
Trewortha Bronze Age Farm--http://www.templeresearch.eclipse.co.uk/bronze/trewortha_farm.htm
Bronze Casting at Trewortha Farm,
by Jeroen Zuiderwijk-- http://mitglied.lycos.de/tgrb/bronze_casting_Threwortha_farm_26_28_maart_2003/
Archeology at Durrington Walls,
Fen--Britain's Bronze Age Center
Water Archaeology--Jacqui Wood's Neolithic archeology and
Sumerian Texts, transliterated
A Woman's Burial from Wessex, http://www.templeresearch.eclipse.co.uk/bronze/wessex_b.htm
"Der Salzherr von Hallstatt"--http://www.hallstattzeit.de/.
Reconstruction of a Hallstatt-era Warrior. GORGEOUS stuff, if a
late for this.
Prehistoric Music Ireland--Bronze
Lots of great information!
http://www.copper.org/ --"Everything you ever wanted to know about copper and its alloys."
Truetype Fonts by Curtis Clark,
including Linear B! http://www.mockfont.com/old/
Which Homeric Hero are You?
Åstrom, Paul. The
Tomb and Other Finds at Dendra, Part I: The Chamber Tombs.
in Mediterranean Archaeology, Vol. IV. Goteborg, Sweden,
ISBN 91 85058 03 3. Excellent photos of each piece of the armor
there, including some close-up shots, drawings, and descriptions.
Not to mention all the pottery and other items found in the tombs!
Avila, Robert A.J. Bronzene Lanzen- und Pfeilspitzen der Griechischen Spaetbronzezeit (Praehistorische Bronzefunde, Abteilung V, Band 1). Munich: C.H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung. Text in German. The various volumes of the "PBF" series are not cheap and can be hard to find, but have tons of scale drawings of weapons and more. Try Buch und Kunstversandhandel, http://www.antikmakler.de/catalog/index.php.
Barber, E.J.W. Prehistoric Textiles: The Development of
Cloth in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. Princeton, NJ:
Princeton University Press, 1991. ISBN 0-691-00224-X.
Barber, Martyn. Bronze and the Bronze Age: Metalwork and
Society in Britain c. 2500-800 BC. Stroud: Tempus
Publishing, 2003. ISBN 0-7524-2507-2.
Colquhoun, Ian. The Swords of
(Praehistorische Bronzefunde series). 1988. ISBN
3406305008. Best information available on the Ewart Park style of
Connolly, Peter. The Ancient Greece of Odysseus. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-910532-4. Chock-full of great info, in his usual lavishly illustrated style. An excellent starter book, and only about $12!
___________. Greece and Rome at War. London: Greenhill Books, 1998. ISBN 185367303X. The best Bronze Age info is actually at the start of the section on Rome.
___________. The Greek Armies.
London: MacDonald Educational, 1977. ISBN 0-382-06308-2. A
little Mycenaean stuff at the beginning, but mostly Classical and
Demakopoulou, Katie, et al. Gods
and Heroes of the European Bronze Age.
London: Thames and Hudson, Ltd, 1999. ISBN 0-500-019150.
Published to accompany a multi-national museum exhibit, and includes a
catalog of the artifacts in that exhibit. Each chapter is on a
different subject, with color photos of many of the objects.
Dickinson, Oliver. The Aegean
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. ISBN 0 521 45664
9. Not exactly a light read, but a good overview of the subject.
Drews, Robert. The End of
Bronze Age: Changes in Warfare and the Catastrophe of 1200 B.C.
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993. ISBN
0-691-04811-8. This blows away all kinds of myths that I
even know were myths! A fascinating view of the flaws of modern
as well as a pivotal era in ancient history. However, Mike Kasner
warns that Drews' military knowledge is very flawed, and Barry Molloy
Glob, P.V. The Mound People:
Danish Bronze-Age Man Preserved.
Translated from the Danish by Joan Bulman. Ithaca, NY: Cornell
University Press, 1974. ISBN 0-8014-0800-8. Wonderful and
very readable! Fascinating finds from burial mounds.
Grguric, Nicolas. The Mycenaeans, c. 1650-1100 BC.
Osprey Elite Series #130. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2005.
ISBN 1-84176-897-9. Illustrated by Angus McBride.
Long-awaited but a little disappointing. Like most any Osprey
book, it is much too short for the subject, and I found McBride's
illustrations to be lacking in some technical details. However,
it does show a couple new pieces of pictoral evidence, and has a
fascinating section on clothing and other items mentioned in the Linear
Harding, A.F. European
in the Bronze Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
2000. ISBN 0 521 36729 8
*James, Peter. Centuries of
London: Jonathan Cape, 1991. ISBN 0-224-02647-X. ESSENTIAL
READING!! Brings a crashing end to the years of shaky theories
of "Dark Ages" riddling the chronologies of 3 continents, all based on
the obviously flawed Egyptian "King List". Now, all dates before
950 BC can be reduced by at least 250 years, bringing continuity and
the end of the Bronze Age. (Also see this site's Chronology page.)
Kilian-Dirlmeier, Imma. Die
Schwerter in Greichenland (ausserhalb der Peloponnes), Bulgarien und
(Praehistorische Bronzefunde, Abteilung IV, Band 12). Stuttgart:
Franz Steiner Verlag, 1993. Text in German, but look at all the
swords! Amazing cross-sections, too.
Mohen, Jean-Pierre, and Eluere,
Christiane. The Bronze Age in Europe. New York:
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2000. ISBN 0-8109-2882-5. Small but
inexpensive and colorful paperback with lots of illustrations.
Osgood, RIchard; Monks, Sarah; and Toms, Judith. Bronze Age Warfare. Sutton Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-7509-2363-6. Has some great information and photos that I have not seen before, particularly for areas outside the Aegean. BUT the authors are convinced that all the bronze armor that has been found must be for "parade wear"! Sorry, but this just doesn't flush. Recent experiments with accurately constructed items show that the armor is very resistant to weapons.
Snodgrass, AM. Arms and
of the Greeks. London: Thames and Hudson, 1967 (Revised
ISBN 0-8018-6073-3. Also deals mainly with the Classical and
periods, but some Bronze Age info, too. I think his armor weight
estimates are too high.
Warren, Peter. The Aegean
Civilizations: From Ancient Crete to Mycenae, 2nd ed. Oxford:
Phaidon Press LTD, 1989. ISBN 0 7148 2471 2. Filled with
color photographs, plans, etc.
Warry, John. Warfare in the
World. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1980. ISBN
0-312-85614-8. As with Connolly, a great starter book but focuses
mainly on Classical and later periods.
Wood, Michael. In Search of
the Trojan War.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998. ISBN
0-520-21599-0. Excellent and balanced story of the discovery of
Troy and the debates about the truth behind the legends.
Yadin, Yigael. The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands. New York : McGraw-Hill, 1963. A two-volume set, focusing on the Middle East and Egypt but touching other cultures as well, starting from the late Stone Age. Filled with illustrations and fascinating analyses of ancient texts.
And of course Homer's Iliad and Odyssey are essential reading! (I'm partial to the translations by Richmond Lattimore.) There is also The Voyage of Argo, by Apollonius of Rhodes, available in a Penguin translation.
Bronze Age reenacting, while growing, is still a relatively small and obscure part of the reenacting world. (Go figure!) There are a few suppliers of weapons, but anything else you want is going to have to be custom-made. If you have something you'd like to show off, or a link I don't know about, please let me know and I'll add it to my page.
with the usual conclusion, I will not make this stuff for you!
it is REALLY cool and I'd love to build it all day long, but reality
Enjoy the website, though, and help yourself to the information, but
half a mind on copyright courtesies and don't try to use it for
In other words, copyright Matthew R. Amt, 2002, except for those photos
and other bits contributed by other folks (in which case they hold the
copyrights). I live in Laurel, MD (USA), phone
301-362-3574, matthew_amt AT yahoo DOT com (Be sure to put
distinctive in the subject line of your email, or it might get deleted
* Greek Hoplite Page * Legio XX site *