The Bronze Sword Festival is a yearly event organized by Neil
Burridge. It celebrates the bronze age, which included the highly skilled
swordmakers that produced the fantastic bronze swords of the period. The
festival was attended by a people from the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands.
This year we had a varied group of familiar attendees, as well as many
new faces, including people with a vast knowledge on bronze age swords
and other artifacts. The festival took place at Threwortha farm, located
in the ancient landscape at the Bodmin Moors filled with visible remains
of bronze age life such as round house foundations, cist graves etc.
Bronze Sword Festival Day 1
In the previous years, the festivals were blessed with fantastic weather.
This year however it was plagued by heavy rain, winds etc. This however
did not dampen the spirit in anyway. Alternative shelter on the site was
used for camping or bedding.
Bronze Sword Festival Day 2
Handing out of the bronze swords
Casting a bronze sword in authentic clay mould
Sword casting result
On saturday the swords were handed out by Neil to the attendees. These
included the classic Ewart Park swords, but also other types such as Gundlingen
swords, khopeshes etc. Neil then did two experimental castings in authentic
clay moulds, in which the attendees were able to participate. The casting
of swords in clay moulds is still a technology that's being re-invented.
This years castings gave excellent results! The evening was filled by the
story tellers the Guild of the Fabulists, who had everyone pinned to their
seats with stories, some which have been told for thousands of years.
Bronze Sword Festival Day 3
Driving the long and bumpy road from Trewortha farm
View from Tingangel
As the weather cleared this day, we went out to see Tintangel, and ancient
castle ruin on the cliffs of the coast (often connected with the legend
of Arthur). The site has been in use since Roman times, though the visible
ruins themselves date to the late medieval period. In the evening, people
gathered around the campfire in the roundhouse, where Scott and Susan of
Dragonfly Moon provided accoustic music based on various cultures, including
a reproduction of a bronze age horn by Neil Burridge.
Bronze Sword Festival Day 4
This day everyone worked hard on their swords, cleaning up the surfaces
and hammering the edges. At the same time, other people made silver bracelets,
gold sundiscs and I did a few small bronze and silver castings. In the
evening, Ben Roberts, curator of the European bronze age at the British
Museum, gave a talk on de development of bronze age ornaments in the UK.
The later evening was spend again around the campfire in the roundhouse,
with music played by Guy, a great artist and friend of Neil. No photos
this day, I was to busy doing other things :)
Bronze Sword Festival Day 5
Time to leave the site again, and return to the 21st century. Thanks again to Neil for organizing such a fantastic event! And thanks to everyone else participating in yet another fantastic event!
More photos of the event
Visit Neil Burridge's site here: http://www.bronze-age-craft.com/