(Photo: Newcastle University)
All graduate assistants have one essential quality: expendability. So why not test the utility of ancient weapons by forcing students to fight each other while wagering on the outcomes?
I have no clear evidence that this is what researchers at Newcastle University are doing, but let's read between the lines:
Researchers are to go into battle using replica Bronze Age weapons to help them understand how people at the time fought.
Using imitation swords, axes, spears and shields, researchers at Newcastle University are to recreate Bronze Age combat.
The weapons will then be studied using sophisticated use-wear analysis techniques to see how the marks and damage compares with Bronze Age weapons in museum collections. [...]
Trained volunteers wearing protective clothing will test a variety of strikes delivered to different body parts.
Bronze smith Neil Burridge made the weapons using 12 percent tin-bronze. The sword handles and pommels are made from oak, while the spear shafts and axe handles are seasoned ash.
Two shields, copies of the prehistoric Clonbrin shield from Ireland, were made using vegetable-tanned leather hide. They were shrunk in hot water and beaten into a wooden former, then dried and coated in bees' wax.