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Reproductions of bronze tools, weapons and ornaments


photo by Eelco Kruidenier

My specialization is reproducing bronzes after examples from the bronze age. Here you can find the various bronze artifacts I've made, or which I'm working on currently. My goal is to give an accurate reconstruction of a bronze caster from the bronze age. So I only work with materials and techniques that were present in that time. This includes finishing of the casts, which takes the most time. But I can only do the latter for a limited amount of casts, due to the amount of time involved. A few of the items, mainly swords, are not cast by myself. But as I finished them myself, I've included them here as well. Of each item I've included descriptions of how they are made, including photos of the different stages (click on the thumnails).

Note that when I use the term authentic, it means that I use only material available in the bronze age, and using the archeological evidence that is available. It doesn't mean that they really did it that way, but that there is a possibility that similar methods were used. It's however very likely that they had much different techniques, and were much handier at it then I am. Just having a few goes at it will of course never match the centuries of experience they had, and for that reason I will always be an amateur compared to them!

The items I make are for my own use, or for others in Archeon. Unfortunately I can't offer them for sale, due to the amount of time involved and my limited production. There are other bronzecasters that do offer reproductions for sale, which can be found in the links section.

Axes

Axes are by far the most common bronze artifacts found from the bronze age in the Netherlands. Axes were very versatile tools. They were used to build houses, free field of trees, make firewood and they were also used as weapons. In the stoneage, axes were made from stone and therefore fragile. By introducing first copper (by the end of the stone age) and then bronze axes, axes became much more durable. And if the axe was eventually worn down and unusable, the material could be reused. Bronze also opened the possibility to develope new shapes. The flat axe evolved into the flanged axe, flanged axe with stopridge, palstave, winged axe and eventually the socketed axe. These developments mainly improved the attachment to the haft.
 

Copper flat axe 1
Copper flat axe 2
Small flat axe
Haren flat axe
Wageningen flat axe
 
Small flanged axe
Nick-flanged axe
Flanged axe with stopridge
Flanged axe with stopridge
Palstave
 
Sleenerzand palstave
Weenderveld palstave
Palstave
Palstave
Palstave
 
Socketed axe
Socketed axe 2
Socketed axe 3
Houten socketed axe
Niedermaas type
socketed axe
 
Seddin-karbow type socketed axe
Large Swedish axe
 
Daggers

Just like axes, daggers had their origin in the stone age as stone examples. By the end of the stoneage, copper daggers came into use. These were at the time the most common metal objects in the Netherlands. A grave from Lunteren, contained aside a copper dagger also a stone hammer, anvils and grinding stone. So this means that metal objects such as these daggers were already produced in the Netherlands by this time. In the early bronze age, bronze daggers were used. Daggers remained quite rare, in contrary to areas as central Europe and England.
 

Knife dagger
Kessel dagger
Irish grooved dagger
Irish grooved dagger 2
 
Knife dagger 2
Irish grooved dagger 3
 
Swords

The bronze daggers got longer and longer, and evolved during the middle bronze age into swords. Swords belonged to the first objects made solely for warfare. Earlier weapons were made primarily for other purposes, but could also be used as weapons. These include for example the bow and arrows, spears and axes. Swords evolved from thrusting weapons, the rapiers, to thrusting and cutting weapons, such as the leafbladed swords.
 

Nijmegen rapier
Carp's tongue type sword
Carp's tongue type sword 2
 
Neil Burridge
Rapier 1
Neil Burridge
Rapier 2
Neil Burridge
Rapier 3
Neil Burridge
Ballintober type sword
Neil Burridge
Limehouse type sword
 
Neil Burridge
sword casting course
sword
Neil Burridge
Ewart Park type sword
generation 1
Neil Burridge
Ewart Park type sword
generation 2
Neil Burridge
Ewart Park type sword
generation 3
 
Neil Burridge
Gundlingen type sword 
 
Knives

Bronze knives came into use late in the bronze age. As cutting tools, flint flakes were still used. During the urnfield period at the end of the bronze age, bronze knives became more common. The so-called "double T" knives, with richly decorated bronze hilts, were probably made localy in the Netherlands. These belong to the highest quality examples of local metal working in the Netherlands.
 

Knife 1
Knife 2
Knife 3
Knife 4
Knife 5
 
Knife 6 
Knife 7
Knife 8
Knife 9
Knife 10
 
Knife 11 
 
Other tools

Bronze was also used for many other tools. It was used for tools for wood working, metal working, or in sickels for harvesting crops. For most of these applications, tools of alternative materials were still most commonly used, as bronze was very valuable. Bronze hammers for example only came into use at the end of the bronze age, and were only used for metal working.
 

Chisel
Chisel 2
Socketed hammer
Anvil
Sickle
 
Arrow heads
Razor
Deurne wide chisel
Deurne gouge
Deurne narrow chisel
 
Razor 2
Spearhead
 
Ornaments

Bronze wasn't just a very suitable material for all sorts of tools, it's also very beautiful. Therefore it was often used in ornaments. With bronze being valuable and rare, bronze ornaments also showed your status. Someone with enough wealth to be able to afford such valuable objects without practical use must be very rich. Bronze probably also had a religious meaning. In Denmark, women were dressed with bronze sundiscs, of which one is also found in the Netherlands. Bronze was probably connected with the sun, which played an important role in bronze age religion. When liquid, bronze glows bright white like the sun. And when finished and polished, it reflects the sunlight like no other material in that time. So it's not unreasonable to assume that the bronze age people saw that as a connection.
 

Ribbed bracelet
Pins with double conical heads
Pin with rib decoration
Wheel headed pin
Bronze ring