Scientists prove 3,500-year-old Mycenaean armor was battle-ready

Researchers have confirmed that the “Dendra Armor” was suitable for actual combat. The 3,500-year-old ancient Greek bronze armor, one of the most complete examples of Mycenaean full-body 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 as the Bronze Age original and was almost the same weight,” 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 armor allowed sufficient flexibility for movement and did not place undue physiological stress on the body. The study suggests that the Mycenaeans’ powerful impact on the eastern Mediterranean was due in part to this incredible armor technology that transformed the prehistoric world.

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