Techniques and Society: A use-wear analysis of the metalwork from the...


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Title Techniques and Society: A use-wear analysis of the metalwork from the Middle Bronze Age of Northwestern Europe
Period 09 / 2007 - 08 / 2011
Status Current
Research number OND1328150
Data Supplier Website GIA


This research is concerned with the study of the techniques of any given past society. A technique can be described as the relationship between the knowledge derived from a particular social system, concerning the effective use of an object, and its place within a specific socio-technical milieu. The premise of this research is therefore that the archaeological evidence for the use of different types of artefacts will relate directly to the historical and technological specificity of different communities, and moreover their communicative properties as material systems of social and cultural signification and differing experiential phenomena. To this end, I intend to collect and analyse use-wear evidence concerning the treatment of a select category of Bronze Age metalwork from the different cultural regions of north-western Europe. The primary body of research material will comprise the dirks and rapiers of Britain, which will then be complimented by a comprehensive sample of material from northern France, Belgium and The Netherlands, thereby providing comparative evidence of use-wear, context and treatment by the different regional communities on either side of the English Channel and the southern region of the North Sea. The central research question is concerned with testing the assumption that the general technique of the Atlantic dirk and rapier was as a thrusting weapon, and therefore distinct from the slashing technique of the flange-hilted sword. This assumption is predicated on the occurrence on some dirks and rapiers of broken butts and torn rivet-holes. This damage is assumed to have occurred when dirks and rapiers were inappropriately used as a slashing weapon, justifying the view that dirks and rapiers were not only specifically thrusting weapons but that also had a serious design flaw in the form of a poor hilting mechanism that was overcome with the development of the flange-hilted sword.

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Supervisor Prof.dr. D.C.M. Raemaekers
Doctoral/PhD student Drs. S.G. Matthews


D37000 Archaeology

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