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Old 7th January 2015, 08:20 PM   #1
Ken Maddock
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Default Bronze Age axe head

Hi
I have just purchased this axe, i know they are a mine field but the price was right, i have not got it in hand though so i am limited by the sellers photos,
I should have it in a week or so
I know it is a palstave axe type, but other than that I know nothing
The remnants of the flashing is still on the side of the head but I understand this is normal enough on axes that were just used for shows of wealth rather than a working piece
I am in ireland and the seller says it was in an old collection, I have purchased a lot off him before and would trust the individual but I have been plenty wrong in the past on several things
All comments welcome but I know it is hard to give full opinion without a lot of analysis
Regards
Ken
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Old 7th January 2015, 08:39 PM   #2
fernando
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Hi Ken,
I can tell you by experience that, the chance to get the real thing, is extremely remote.
I wish you luck with this one .
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Old 7th January 2015, 10:24 PM   #3
Ken Maddock
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Hi Fernando
I saw your post from a while ago about ones you got in auction and I found it interesting
I work in chemistry and have access to metal composition analytical equipment
Do you know if there is a distinctive composition that will distinguish old form reproduction or are the reproducers getting the composition correct
It was inexpensive enough so I will get the money's worth from the learning experience, I might even get an undergrad practical out of it!

Tomorrow I am off to se a blunderbuss, and I am on more comfortable ground with this, hopefully it will be a good purchase,
Best regards
Ken
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Old 8th January 2015, 07:54 PM   #4
fernando
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Hi Ken,
I am a zero on metalurgies. I had to trust those who had such knowledge, in the first place and, in the end, i met the person who had loan two originals to the guy who atempted and managed to cast copies, from which lot my examples apparently belonged.
You are dead right in that blunderbusses are a more comfortable hobby. I hope you acquire the example you talk about ... and show it to us
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Old 8th January 2015, 11:24 PM   #5
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i've heard that the balkans i a good source for chemically patinated bronze mace and axe head repros. most 'roman' bronze items on epray seem to come from there. i bought an 'ancient roman mace head' for about 30, cleaned the green goop off with salt & vinagar, polished it and it made a neat walking stick knob handle. i bought a socketed bronze 'roman' axe head for about the same, it also made a nice walking stick. i left it green. both came from romania &were brand new under the green. found a company that made exact castings of real artifacts, warts, pits, broken bits & all, and fairly cheap. wrote them to ask if they' make me an unbroken unpitted casting. they never replied.

anyhow modern bronzes have a differing copper/tin ratio and some use a dab of aluminum in the mix, phosphorus is also used. a mettalergical analysis might show the mix is modern or not. i doubt the forgers are duplicating exactly the old mix (i hear some had lead &or zinc in as well as tin). you can download a PDF document on the metallurgy of ancient bronze HERE

'ancient' roman bronze mace head walking stick. - top
'anchient roman socket axe' walking stick/fokos. - bottom -it's nice & sharp
too

mace head below -after cleaning & before.
bronze axe head used on the walking stick.
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Old 9th January 2015, 12:26 AM   #6
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p.s. - here's a palistave axe from a bronze smith here in the UK that conducts 'cast your own' 3-day classes for axes/swords/spearheads a few times a year. been thinking of going. you live in a roundhouse & cook your food over a fire in bronze-age fashion.
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Old 9th January 2015, 01:49 PM   #7
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What happens when the Hittites knock on the palisade ?
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Old 9th January 2015, 03:13 PM   #8
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they lose big time. i outnumber them even tho there are more of them. and bronze is better than iron.

the sword in the stone, excalibur was bronze.

watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CZQO8q9DYU

battle of kadesh 1274 b.c. 20,000 egyptians vs. 23,000 to 50,000 hittites. rameses won on points. at least a draw. great slaughter on both sides. mostly slaughtered hittites tho. hittites sued for peace.

intereseting video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4qLhq5V2-o

'nother: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFTAdzHbp2I

these were made by my local bronze smith noted earlier.

excerpt from a metallurgists dissertation
Quote:
1.4 WHY CHANGE FROM GOOD BRONZE TO BAD IRON?
To return to the question with which I began this chapter, there are a number of
competing theories, and I have described some of them in previous editions of these
notes. However, in keeping with Occam's razor, the most probable reason is also the
simplest. They changed to iron because it was cheap.
In this the British were not unique. They were, in fact, repeating history from the
cradle of civilization in the Middle East more than a millennium earlier. Every society,
from the Hittites forward, changed to iron weaponry as soon as they learned how to make
it, despite the fact that the iron they could make was everywhere inferior to good bronze.
(When Goliath met David, in the biblical account, he was carried iron weapons but
wearing bronze armor. His choices give a pretty good indication of which metal he
thought would do the better job of protecting him.)
Early iron was inferior to good bronze, but it wasn't that bad. And it was plentiful
and cheap. Given a choice between a thousand soldiers armed with iron and half that
number armed with bronze, the wise king invested in iron. In many societies of the
period soldiers were expected to provide their own weaponry. Given that he could afford
fifty arrows tipped with iron or twenty tipped with bronze, the smart soldier made up his
mind very quickly.
Iron is, arguably, the most versatile metal in the periodic table, and metallurgists
gradually learned to make tools and weapons of iron that were far superior to any that
preceded them. But that came much later. In the early days iron dominated the market
because it was available and it was cheap.
If this is the case, can we, in Churchill's words, "plainly recognize across the vanished
millenniums a fellow-being?" Most of us will have little trouble doing that. In
fact, steel's place in the world market today is largely due to the fact that it is relatively
cheap. One can make a better automobile out of more exotic materials, and the owners of grand prix race cars do that. But most of us will continue to buy cars made primarily of
steel and bank the difference in price. A surprisingly large fraction of the materials used
in industry are chosen on the simple basis of cost and availability.


J. W. Morris, Jr.
A Survey of Materials Science
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
University of California, Berkeley
Fall 2008

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Old 9th January 2015, 04:50 PM   #9
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I will concede that the battle of Kadesh was a draw, especially since the only surviving record was Egyptian (the Record and the Ramesseum), with might have been tilted towards the Pharaoh's advantage.In fact, the "Treaty of Kadesh," was not signed for a number of years after the battle.
It didn't hurt either that Ramses ll, one of the greatest Pharaohs of Egypt, headed the campaigns.
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Old 9th January 2015, 07:10 PM   #10
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the hittites were a flash in the pan, made a big stink then disappeared. their capital city is in a wasteland, no water or arable land, deserted and abandoned, with very little to show they ever existed apart from the records of their enemies, like egypt, which has existed since history began and seems likely to continue doing so.

they have recently found the (or a) hittite library, or hall of records which was burned as the hittites abandoned the capital which seems to indicate in the found clay tablets that the ruler was overthrown by and murdered by a brother, and this so upset their strict religion and order, they fell apart.
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Old 9th January 2015, 07:36 PM   #11
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You mean like Ramessess lll, murdered by one of his wives and his son Tiye or Akhenaten who was very unpopular and vilified because he had the draconian concept to make his subjects worship one god ; very unpopular !
I think that all ruling dynasties, be they from China, Rome, Egypt, etc. had their share of intrigue.
In conclusion I agree that The Egyptian accomplishments surpass those of the Hittites, even though I think iron trumps bronze .
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Old 9th January 2015, 07:40 PM   #12
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i'll agree we can disagree steel maybe, but not crappy cheap iron.

show me a photo of a 3000 yr. old hittite sword in usable condition. there are many bronze ones that given a scrub & polish would do just as well as when they were born.

p.s. - my local bronze-smith (neil) sent me an email tonight that his schedule is packed and he's not taking new orders this quarter.
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Old 9th January 2015, 09:33 PM   #13
Ken Maddock
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Thanks for all the reply s
I will look at the compositions
The easiest check would be for presence of aluminium followed
By phosphorous, ratios are a bit harder but definitely possible
Most tests are destructive but only a mili gram is required so that would be doable
I will start a new tread when I have work done,
I have just purchased a percussion punt gun and a blunderbuss so I have a lot to do in the study of these, all good problems though
Regards to all
Ken
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Old 14th January 2015, 12:27 AM   #14
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ROYAL COURTS AND FAMILIES WERE WHERE POLITICS AND DIPLOMACY DEVELOPED. WITH ALL THE INTRIGUE, LYING AND BACKSTABBING AND DIRTY DEEDS AND JOCKEYING FOR POWER ITS NO WONDER IT IS STILL A DIRTY GAME TODAY.
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