Raw Video: Scientists Prove 3,500-Year-Old Mycenaean Armor Was Battle-Ready | Entertainment

Researchers have confirmed that the “Dendra Armor,” one of the most complete examples of Mycenaean full-body armor, was suitable for combat. This 3,500-year-old ancient Greek bronze armor was originally discovered in a tomb in the Greek village of Dendra by Greek and Swedish archaeologists in the 1960s. However, they were puzzled by its use, wondering whether it was for combat or simply for ceremonial purposes. Now, an international team of researchers led by Professor Andreas Floris of the University of Thessaly is addressing this question through a series of rigorous tests. Using a metal replica of the Dendra Armor created in the 1980s at the Bournville College of Art and Design in Birmingham, UK, volunteers from the Greek military participated in an 11-hour simulation of Bronze Age combat protocols based on Homer’s “Iliad.” “The armor worn by the volunteers had the same dimensions and almost the same weight as the Bronze Age original,” Professor Floris explained. “During the simulation, we monitored calorie intake based on the Homeric diet (approximately 4,443 calories), and measured heart rate, oxygen consumption, core temperature, fluid loss and muscle function.” The study found that the armour allowed sufficient flexibility for movement and did not place undue physiological stress on the body. “Though unwieldy in appearance, Dendra armour is flexible enough to allow almost all of a warrior’s movements on foot, and durable enough to protect the wearer from most blows,” Professor Floris said. These findings are important for a deeper understanding of the Mycenaeans’ impact on the eastern Mediterranean. Dr Ken Wardle, Senior Lecturer in Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham, highlighted the broader implications of the study. “Records of military exchanges with the Hittite Ahhiyawa (another name for the Mycenaeans) suggest that they had considerable power in western Asia Minor in the late 2nd millennium BC. This suggests that the Mycenaeans had considerable military power, in part due to their advanced armour technology.” The study also sheds light on the collapse of the Eastern Mediterranean Bronze Age civilizations at the end of the 2nd millennium BC, a period of destruction and upheaval that marked the beginning of the Iron Age. “The mention of bronze armour in the Iliad was thought to be a later insertion or poetic interpretation, but this study suggests that this is not the case,” Wardle added. “Looking at the armour in the light of these historical records reveals one of the most significant turning points in history.” The discovery also adds detail to the contemporary historical record of Greek and Egyptian armour, including sketches on the Linear B clay tablets at Knossos in Crete and illustrations of Mycenaean warriors on Egyptian papyrus. The study shows that the Mycenaeans’ powerful influence on the Eastern Mediterranean was in part due to their armour technology, providing new insights into social transformation in the prehistoric world.

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