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Repair and appropriation. Some considerations on customized Late Bronze Age swords

Réparations et appropriation. Quelques considérations sur des épées personnalisées du Bronze final


Repair is an action aiming at giving an object is functionality back. This is of course an economic process: if it is not possible to use an artefact for the purpose it was designed for, for example if it is flawed or worn out, then it needs to be smelted or repaired. But the cultural aspect of functionality shall not be forgotten. In Bronze Age societies, all items crafted had to look a certain way, and not another, varying according to the considered regions or time periods. Bronze Age swords are no exception to the rule. The shape of the hilt is particularly standardized, contributing to the visual identity of the weapon. For example, at the end of the Bronze Age (9th century B.C.), we can identify several morphological traditions corresponding to several material cultures according to solid-hilted swords’ guard shapes: in Central Europe swords are made with a typical wing-shaped guard, whereas in other parts of the continent, swords hilts are generally designed with a bell-shaped guard with a central notch in the Italian Peninsula and in Eastern Europe, or without notch in Scandinavia and around the Baltic Sea. The Atlantic Area contrasts with the others by the rarity of full-hilted swords. They are also distributed on wide areas, sometimes crossing cultural borders. Some swords from a certain shape are then found in areas where they would have been designed another way, with another visual identity. Some of these swords are then repaired in order to adapt them to the shape they should have according to the local taste. We propose here to discuss the question of visual identity and cultural contacts through the example of the customization of Late Bronze Age swords, which can be assimilated to a form of cultural appropriation through repair.
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hal-02356876 , version 1 (09-11-2019)


  • HAL Id : hal-02356876 , version 1


Léonard Dumont. Repair and appropriation. Some considerations on customized Late Bronze Age swords. Bronze Age Forum 2019, Nov 2019, Durham, United Kingdom. . ⟨hal-02356876⟩
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