Ancient Mycenaean armor was tested by the Marines and found to be suitable for prolonged combat.

Ancient Mycenaean armor was tested by the Marines and found to be suitable for prolonged combat.


Ancient Mycenaean armor was tested by the Marines and found to be suitable for prolonged combat.

Artistic photo showing a replica of the Dendra armor used in the study. Photo credits: Andreas Floris and Marija Marković. Reproduction requires permission. Credit: Floris et al., 2024, PLOS OneCC-BY 4.0 (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

A study published May 22 in the open access journal Nature suggests that the famous Mycenaean armor was suitable not only for ceremonial use but also for prolonged combat. PLOS One Andreas Floris and colleagues from the University of Thessaly in Greece.

One of the oldest armors discovered in Europe is a 3,500-year-old suit of armor found near the village of Dendra, a few kilometers from ancient Mycenae.

Since its discovery in 1960, it has been unclear whether this was ceremonial armour or suitable for combat. This question has important implications for understanding warfare in Late Bronze Age Europe, but there are no historical records describing the use of this style of armour. In this study, the researchers combine historical and experimental evidence to investigate Dendra armour’s suitability for combat.

The authors recruited 13 volunteers from the Greek Marine Corps, outfitted them with replica Dendra armour and Bronze Age weapons, and subjected them to 11 hours of mock Bronze Age combat protocols. The combat simulation was developed based on historical descriptions from Homer’s Iliad and additional physiological and environmental evidence to create an approximation of the typical diet, activity, and manoeuvres of a Mycenaean army.

Ancient Mycenaean armor was tested by the Marines and found to be suitable for prolonged combat.

Top: Topography of the area around Troy during the Late Bronze Age (labels indicate the location of the two military camps and geographical features of the area). This map was created using Azgaar’s Fantasy Map Generator (a free web application) under a CC BY license. Original copyright 2017–2021, with permission from Max Haniyeu. Bottom: Volunteer Marines wearing replica Dendra armour during a mock battle during an empirical study (right) and artistic photoshoot (left). Photo by Andreas Flouris and Marija Marković. Reproduction requires permission. Credit: Flouris et al., 2024, PLOS OneCC-BY 4.0 (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Testing has shown that the replicated Dendra Armor does not restrict a warrior’s combat capabilities, nor does it place undue strain on the wearer.

These results suggest that Dendra armour was battle-hardened and that the Mycenaeans’ powerful influence on Mediterranean history was due in part to their armour technology.

3,500-year-old Mycenaean armour suited to prolonged combat - study

A man wearing replica armour hitting his shield with a spear/staff. Photo by Andreas Flouris and Marija Marković.

To complement these results, the authors developed freely available software that allows for the simulation of combat conditions to test the hypothetical effectiveness of the armour in more diverse scenarios.Further research into Mycenaean combat technology will continue to reveal more details about the transition to the Late Bronze and Iron Ages.

For more information:
Analysis of prehistoric Greek full-body armor combat based on physiological principles: a series of studies using thematic analyses, human experiments and numerical simulations, PLoS One (2024). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0301494

Courtesy of the Public Library of Science

Quote: Ancient Mycenaean Armor Tested by Marines and Determined Suitable for Prolonged Combat (May 22, 2024) Retrieved May 26, 2024 from https://phys.org/news/2024-05-ancient-mycenaean-armor-marines-pronounced.html

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