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Query re Iron Age sword
#1
Hello all,

I have tried posting this on Kelticos, but finding no one posting there I hoped I would find some knowledgeable Iron Age members here to advise me!

I was wondering if anyone can offer their advice on these two reproduction swords, in terms of are they accurate for any part of the Iron Age, and if so what kind of dates? They were bought by my girlfriend on a bit of a whim at a re-enactment event some time ago, and as I am planning on making her some scabbards for them I’ve been trying to discover what period they are meant to represent. So far I’m getting the impression that they are near the beginning of the iron age due to their resemblance to bronze age swords but I would appreciate whatever information that you might be willing to share to identify them!

Blade length - Larger is 56cm smaller is 37cm, handle is also of iron.

Many thanks in advance!


http://postimg.org/image/7qvszjpnh/
Pericles of Rhodes (AKA George)
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#2
I may be wrong, but I think they're just loosely based on the Late Bronze Age swords you've seen rather than being accurate replicas of anything.

Ed.: To be more specific, based on the "whole-hilt" design (what archaeologists call Vollgriffschwert), Nordic Bronze Age, Urnfield and Lusatian cultures from c. 1000 BC spring to mind.

The Bronze Age offered some interesting scabbards that often looked nothing like those from later time periods.  Near the top of this thread, there's a very arresting sheet-metal scabbard (or facing) for a carp's tongue sword with embossing and a flared tip.  And near the bottom of this page is one with a fluted and hatched wooden scabbard, also flared.
Dan D'Silva

Far beyond the rising sun
I ride the winds of fate
Prepared to go where my heart belongs,
Back to the past again.

--  Gamma Ray

Well, I'm tough, rough, ready and I'm able
To pick myself up from under this table...

--  Thin Lizzy

Join the Horde! - http://xerxesmillion.blogspot.com/
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#3
Thank you Dan! The closest I've got with them is Hallstatt swords, as some of these seem to be iron blades made in the Bronze Age style. However so far I've only come across bronze or organic hilts on these iron blades, but no iron ones. Perhaps there are none and these reproductions are inaccurate but it seems likely something may have been iron hilted as well as organic hilted (just like Greek Kopides were) and that I haven’t found it yet in my very limited research.
[Image: Hallstatt_culture_swords_ramsauer.jpg][Image: mindelheim_swords.jpg]
Pericles of Rhodes (AKA George)
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#4
Hello.  It is true as far as it goes that Hallstatt leaf-bladed swords were produced in both bronze and iron, but these swords you have still show marked differences from the main Hallstatt types.  I still think that as far as I can tell, they aren't close replicas of any particular sword.

If you treat them as Hallstatt swords, their scabbards would be mostly organic (probably wood with possibly hide facings) but often ending in large, bronze "winged" chapes.  I would also suggest adding a so-called Mexican hat pommel, but I could see practical problems trying to do so over an iron hilt, especially given the shape.

Neil Burridge has a page focusing mainly on the Hallstatt Mindelheim type that may be helpful.
Dan D'Silva

Far beyond the rising sun
I ride the winds of fate
Prepared to go where my heart belongs,
Back to the past again.

--  Gamma Ray

Well, I'm tough, rough, ready and I'm able
To pick myself up from under this table...

--  Thin Lizzy

Join the Horde! - http://xerxesmillion.blogspot.com/
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#5
Thanks Dan, I feared that may have been the case that it's a bit of an imaginitive take on an historical theme rather than properly correct for a period, thanks for your help!
Pericles of Rhodes (AKA George)
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#6
I posted a reply on Kelticos as well; I would have responded sooner but I could never download the picture!

Dan is right, these are not terribly close reproductions. But the profile of the larger blade in particular is a pretty close match to the Hallstatt swords.

Depending on the quality of the blades, and exactly how the swords are assembled, they might be worthwhile to rework into a more historically accurate appearance. I've reworked a number of Del Tins over the years; some of my Iron Age related work is posted on Kelticos. If I had these swords (and assuming I deemed them of decent enough quality to rework) I would rework the longer one into the type of sword you posted in your reply, with the Mexican Hat style pommel, etc. I might try to salvage the iron/steel grip, or simply make a new one out of organic material or bronze. The shorter blade I would scrap the hilt altogether and rework into an anthropomorphic type of short sword, or perhaps a more Hallstatt antenna style dagger.

If you would like to try this, contact me. I can give you a lot of pointers on how to proceed. If you want to throw some money at me I could even do it for you (price would depend on what you want and how much trouble it will be to mod the existing piece, but we can discuss if you like)
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#7
If you want a one stop refence then " Hallstattzeitliche Grabfunde in Württemberg und Hohenzollern" by hartwig Zürn may be usefull, its basically an illiustrated catalogue of Hallsatt grave finds from that region.
But does include a large number of iron swords(and associated artifacts) which follow leaf shaped designs in various sizes (some are Really large), few have hilts and none as far as I see have metal scabbards which seem to be limited to daggers.. chapes are not much in evidence and surviving handles follow the Hallstatt designs shown in the thread so far...

One particular example from Gomadingen according to the text has a gold inlaid organic (perisable material) hilt and a wooden scabbard wrapped in textiles... a cross section of the scabbard construction is shown in the relevant enty, rather then being two pieces of equal form the main part is C shaped in cross section with a flat piece inserted to fill the gap bettween the horns of the C.


There are some surviving wooden scabbards(and organic hilts) from Denmark see P.V. Glob "The mound People" though this is Bronze Age, the scabbards might be relevant since they belong to leaf shaped blades...
Ivor

"And the four bare walls stand on the seashore. a wreck a skeleton a monument of that instability and vicissitude to which all things human are subject. Not a dwelling within sight, and the farm labourer, and curious traveller, are the only persons that ever visit the scene where once so many thousands were congregated." T.Lewin 1867
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#8
This Hallstatt book looks excellent, but on Bookfinder I see to versions, one published in 1987 and one in 1997. Which should I get?
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#9
(03-15-2016, 07:29 PM)C. Gadda Wrote: This Hallstatt book looks excellent, but on Bookfinder I see to versions, one published in 1987 and one in 1997. Which should I get?
 1987, you should be able to get it via interlibrary loan be aware the text is in german, 2 volumes.
Ivor

"And the four bare walls stand on the seashore. a wreck a skeleton a monument of that instability and vicissitude to which all things human are subject. Not a dwelling within sight, and the farm labourer, and curious traveller, are the only persons that ever visit the scene where once so many thousands were congregated." T.Lewin 1867
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#10
(03-16-2016, 12:00 AM)Crispianus Wrote:
(03-15-2016, 07:29 PM)C. Gadda Wrote: This Hallstatt book looks excellent, but on Bookfinder I see to versions, one published in 1987 and one in 1997. Which should I get?
 1987, you should be able to get it via interlibrary loan be aware the text is in german, 2 volumes.

Eh, they have several copies up on Bookfinder from divers bookstores in Germany for under $50, so I just went ahead and bought a copy.
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