3,500-year-old armor tested in combat simulation

Image source, Andreas Floris and Marija Markovic / PLOS ONE

Tests were carried out to see if 3,500-year-old armor could have been used in ancient Greek battles.

The full body armor, including a helmet made from boar’s tusks and bronze plates, was discovered in a Greek tomb by archaeologists in the 1960s.

Since its discovery, experts have wondered whether the armor was used in battle or simply for ceremonial purposes.

So a team from the University of Thessaly in Greece put it to the test.

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How did they test the armor?

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Volunteers donned armor and took part in a combat simulation.

The researchers asked Greek military volunteers to wear replica bulletproof vests and take part in a simulation of an ancient war.

This involved re-enacting a battle between infantry and soldiers in tanks to see how the armour would hold up.

The team made sure that other factors, such as temperature, were the same as they were 3,500 years ago. The volunteers were exposed to heat of around 30 to 36 degrees Celsius, the same temperatures that soldiers experienced during the ancient Greek summer.

They even gave the volunteers a pre-battle meal similar to what Late Bronze Age soldiers ate: bread, beef, goat cheese and onions.

What did they discover about Greek armor?

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Archaeologists who discovered this armor in the 1960s weren’t sure whether it would have protected soldiers in battle, so they had it tested.

An international team of researchers, including British researchers, found that despite the armour’s “cumbersome appearance”, it provided good mobility and was not significantly damaged.

When the original armor was discovered in Greece over 60 years ago, there were doubts as to whether it would have protected soldiers in battle.

However, the test results have led experts to believe it was combat gear, writing in a research paper:

“We now understand that it is not only flexible enough to permit nearly all of a warrior’s movements on foot, but also resilient enough to protect the wearer from most blows.”

It is hoped that the discovery will help researchers understand more about this historical period, including the ancient battle and its impact on ordinary people.

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