The battle of Tollense 1200 - 1300 bc Bronze age weapons vs stone age weapons?

Aug 2018
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Conclusion

Warfare became institutionalized and professionalized in the Middle Bronze Age, and travelling warriors/mercenaries helped to speed innovations in weapon technology. The flange-hilted sword was the preferred weapon and was a concrete example of this internationalism in weapon technology and warfare. Warriors were organized in local retinues of fifteen to twenty men under the local sword-bearing leader. many such war-bands could join forces and make up real armies under special circumstances. Organized trade made warriors indispensable, and warfare could take on huge proportions when it came to the control of trade routes, or rather their most important hubs/bottlenecks, such as Bernstorf. In addition, knowledge about far-away places and riches made migrations an attractive option in periods of crisis and population surplus. We may assume that a constant supply of warriors was available from sons without inheritance forming youth war-bands and later joining regular retinues. especially from the thirteenth century BC onwards, there emerged a new situation in east Central Europe with the advent of the Urnfield Culture. It led to violent transformations and migrations, and new large mega-sites were constructed. To feed such huge populations, an intensification of farming took place, one with heavier emphasis placed on crops that display more variety. Warriors were now mobilized in real armies, supporting migration; it is just such a battle of migrating people and warriors that we witness in Tollense, Mecklenburg (Price 2014). Later, they would turn to the south, Asia Minor and the east Mediterranean. However, it seems that this Urnfield mobilization would not last, and conditions returned to ‘normal’ after the twelfth century BC, although fortified settlements were now the norm.

In all this - trade alternating with raids and sometimes leading to large-scale migrations - Bronze Age warfare looks more like Celtic and Viking warfare and migration. It implies that, by the Bronze Age, European political economies had reached a level of organization that changed little until historical times.”

p.38-42

Warfare in Bronze Age Society
 
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Interesting German article on the Tollense battle:


Carnage at the Tollense - Was it a battle against invaders from the south? (19/10/2019)

"In the case of the dead from the Tollense valley, Price found out that most of them probably came from the Greater Region around the battlefield, i.e. from what is now north-eastern Germany. But Price also found that more than a third had grown up elsewhere. Their strontium isotope values correspond to data known from Bohemia and the eastern low mountain ranges.

However, Thomas Terberger believes that isotope analyses alone cannot be used as proof of origin. Even if the values from tooth enamel and the data from a region are similar, this is not clear evidence. Because the isotope values from other regions may also agree, but have simply not yet been collected. Terberger and his colleagues have therefore also investigated the finds using proven archaeological methods. They discovered weapons and jewellery in the finds that they did not know from the Nordic Bronze Age cultures and the Tollense area. These include a sword (Riegsee type), an axe, bronze arrowheads and several robe needles. Swords of this type were found by archaeologists in southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary. Also the arrowheads point to southern Germany, the axe and the needles to Bohemia.


The Old World Trembles

The Battle of the Tollense valley took place at a time when the established world of the late Bronze Age collapsed far away in the eastern Mediterranean. In the 13th century BC the castles of the Mycenaeans in Greece perished, the empire of the Hittites collapsed, Troy burned, the Egyptians repelled invaders on their coast, the so-called sea people. The original material of the "Iliad", Homer's epic about the mythical war before Troy, probably originated at the same time. Why an entire region was shaken, closely linked by trade, diplomacy and conflict, was probably due to various causes. Archaeologists have found evidence of violent destruction by fire, but also by natural disasters such as earthquakes. In some regions the climate seemed to have changed, which could have led to crop failures and famines. Migration and revolts, trade cuts or possibly the lack of urgently needed goods such as tin, copper or bronze could have caused the system to collapse.

In view of this disaster crescendo in the Mediterranean region, the battlefield in Tollense valley appears to be the site of an isolated outbreak of violence. But excavations in recent years have shown that the opposite may have been the case. Archaeologists have now investigated numerous fortresses built on mountain spurs and peaks from the western low mountain ranges to the Carpathian Basin. Only recently, at the beginning of October 2019, the researchers presented their results at a conference of the project "Prehistoric Conflict Research", which is headed by the two prehistorians Svend Hansen of the German Archaeological Institute and Rüdiger Krause of the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. It turned out that at the end of the Middle and Late Bronze Ages, between 1400 and 800 BC, more and more hilltop settlements were fortified. For Hansen and Krause, the Bronze Age castles testify to an "eminent need for protection". And "at the same time they were power bases from which resources and traffic routes could be controlled".

The castles were attacked. This is documented by fire layers in the hilltop settlements and burnt down fortress walls, as well as finds of weapons, above all the tips of arrows fired. In the 2nd millennium B.C. Europe had become militarized. This can also be seen in new types of weapons such as lances and slash and stab swords. In addition, metallurgists developed new casting techniques with which swords could be produced more quickly.


War and Trade

The Central European castle lords controlled trade routes and settlement areas, were in exchange with each other - and apparently also in conflict. Metals, amber, textiles and food were traded over shorter and longer distances. In the late Bronze Age, Europe was integrated into a trading network that also cultivated contacts with Mediterranean cultures. Scientific archaeologists from the Curt-Engelhorn Centre for Archaeometry in Mannheim were able to prove that tin ingots reached the Levant from the south of the British Isles.

Had some "chieftains" - "big men" or "warlords" - from the region in present-day southern Germany and Bohemia joined forces around 1250 BC? And then had they moved north with their warriors? On their march, they destroyed castles and plundered settlements - until resistance formed at the important crossroads in the Tollense valley? It would be a possible scenario, says Thomas Terberger. The battle site itself was probably an important link in the trade network: as C-14 dating showed, the wooden bridge had already been built 500 years before the battle and had been repaired again and again. It could have formed an important intersection: east-west to land, north-south to the Tollense. Archaeologists would also expect a village or settlement at such a place. However, they have not yet been able to locate such a place. And another exciting question is: Who were the winners and who were the losers? That's why, says Thomas Terberger, the archaeologists are continuing their research."

https://www.spektrum.de/news/gemetze...sueden/1680250
 
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Aug 2018
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Connected Histories: the Dynamics of Bronze Age Interaction and Trade 1500–1100 BC' (2015)

"during Period III, 1300–1150 BC, a dramatic change took place in the supplies of bronze, probably during the 13th century BC (HaA1). The old network with southern Germany, which had secured a steady flow of metal for amber during most of the 15th and 14th centuries BC and provided opportunities for warriors and traders to travel both ways, was cut off due to warfare linked to social and religious reformation throughout eastern Central Europe. The archaeological evidence for this is twofold: the successor of the octagonal-hilted swords, the Riegsee full-hilted sword, never reached Denmark, but we suddenly find a group of Riegsee swords in Slovakia, the new hub for contacts to the north (Fig. 8). We may interpret this as an attempt to forge new political alliances, but perhaps it is also a result of new east/west hostilities on a regional scale. At the same time we see a geographical expansion of hoarding (Fig. 8), which was an old ritual tradition in the Carpathians, but now also occurs in central Germany and former Yugoslavia, suggesting either the intrusion of new people from the Carpathian Basin and/or new hostilities. In the Nordic zone, and in the area of the former Tumulus Culture as well as in the Aegean, warrior burials continued and suggest the continuation of old social and ritual traditions (Sperber 1999). In southern Germany one of the central hubs of trade, Bernstorff, was heavily fortified around 1340 BC and shortly after burned down and deserted. Bernstorff is the largest fortified settlement in southern Germany/western Central Europe with a size of 14 ha. Its huge fortifications were constructed in the Middle Bronze Age (middle of the 14th century BC), when the power balance between eastern and western Central Europe was changing, and shortly after it was devastated and burned down along 1.6 km of its length (Bähr et al. 2012). We will probably never know who the enemies were, but we might suspect them to be outsiders, because at the same time we find evidence of major upheavals in eastern Central Europe.

In the Carpathians and Transylvania huge metal hoards containing up to a ton of objects are deposited, testifying to the collapse of the traditional metal distribution system, and in the west in southern Germany, full-hilted swords of ‘Riegsee’ and ‘Dreiwulstschwerter’ type are becoming more and more worn on the hilt, as they had to be kept in circulation longer. From Riegsee to Dreiwulstschwerter the number of heavily worn swords increases to nearly 50%, which, however, corresponds to similar figures in Denmark (Kristiansen 1978, fig. 3). This figure should be compared to the previous period when there was a balance of unused, moderately and heavily worn swords. This increase in circulation time is a sure sign of declining metal supplies due to a rather long-lasting breakdown of regular trade. In addition these later types of full-hilted Central European swords rarely came to Northern Europe. They testify to a new east–west Central European network, with a high degree of stylistic and formal homogeneity among swords, suggesting that either few workshops existed, or imitation was common (Stockhammer 2004, chap. 6). It was in the Nordic realm, however, that the unstable supply of metal during the 13th century BC was felt most strongly: here a whole generation of full-hilted Nordic swords had to be kept in circulation for a prolonged period of time. As a result their hilts were completely worn down, and furthermore the bronze was worn away in several places laying bare the inner clay core of the casting. This phenomenon can be observed throughout South Scandinavia and northern Germany during Montelius Period III, and it is well-documented in the Aner and Kersten volumes I–XX in drawings (eg, Aner & Kersten 2001; 2011). Full-hilted Nordic swords were finally deposited in burials towards the end of Period III during the 12th century BC when supplies were becoming stable again, now through political alliances with the Carpathian region.

These dramatic historical events tended to undermine the authority of ritual chiefs in the Nordic zone, which was linked to control over rituals and metal that was now becoming sparse, whereas warriors might benefit from taking part in raids and returning with riches from booty. In this way they could mobilise alternative wealth from raid and plunder, whether at home or as mercenaries in Central Europe or the Aegean where the flange-hilted sword testifies to the appearance of warriors from the north, mainly from Italy but also from Central Europe (Clausing 2003, Abb. 2; Jung & Mehofer 2013).

As return payment and booty they would bring new body armour to Central Europe (Goetze 1984; Clausing 2003, Abb. 4). Thus, after the deposition of the last generation of full-hilted Nordic swords towards the end of Period III, we see a major reorganisation of burial rituals. From this point urn burials become the norm, and large objects such as swords are no longer deposited, except in rare circumstances. The construction of thousands of barrows made of grass turf also came to an end, except for a few elite burials (Holst et al. 2013). A new political and ritual regime with less boasting of power had taken over, probably due to a centralisation of power in fewer hands, but also due to influence from the Lausitz/Lusatian culture. This new regime corresponds to similar changes in Central Europe (Clausing 2005), and the elites now shared international prestige goods of drinking and feasting (Metzner-Nebelsick 2003)."

'Connected Histories: the Dynamics of Bronze Age Interaction and Trade 1500–1100 BC' (2015)
 
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Connected Histories: the Dynamics of Bronze Age Interaction and Trade 1500–1100 BC' (2015)

"during Period III, 1300–1150 BC, a dramatic change took place in the supplies of bronze, probably during the 13th century BC (HaA1). The old network with southern Germany, which had secured a steady flow of metal for amber during most of the 15th and 14th centuries BC and provided opportunities for warriors and traders to travel both ways, was cut off due to warfare linked to social and religious reformation throughout eastern Central Europe. The archaeological evidence for this is twofold: the successor of the octagonal-hilted swords, the Riegsee full-hilted sword, never reached Denmark, but we suddenly find a group of Riegsee swords in Slovakia, the new hub for contacts to the north (Fig. 8). We may interpret this as an attempt to forge new political alliances, but perhaps it is also a result of new east/west hostilities on a regional scale. At the same time we see a geographical expansion of hoarding (Fig. 8), which was an old ritual tradition in the Carpathians, but now also occurs in central Germany and former Yugoslavia, suggesting either the intrusion of new people from the Carpathian Basin and/or new hostilities. In the Nordic zone, and in the area of the former Tumulus Culture as well as in the Aegean, warrior burials continued and suggest the continuation of old social and ritual traditions (Sperber 1999). In southern Germany one of the central hubs of trade, Bernstorff, was heavily fortified around 1340 BC and shortly after burned down and deserted. Bernstorff is the largest fortified settlement in southern Germany/western Central Europe with a size of 14 ha. Its huge fortifications were constructed in the Middle Bronze Age (middle of the 14th century BC), when the power balance between eastern and western Central Europe was changing, and shortly after it was devastated and burned down along 1.6 km of its length (Bähr et al. 2012). We will probably never know who the enemies were, but we might suspect them to be outsiders, because at the same time we find evidence of major upheavals in eastern Central Europe.

In the Carpathians and Transylvania huge metal hoards containing up to a ton of objects are deposited, testifying to the collapse of the traditional metal distribution system, and in the west in southern Germany, full-hilted swords of ‘Riegsee’ and ‘Dreiwulstschwerter’ type are becoming more and more worn on the hilt, as they had to be kept in circulation longer. From Riegsee to Dreiwulstschwerter the number of heavily worn swords increases to nearly 50%, which, however, corresponds to similar figures in Denmark (Kristiansen 1978, fig. 3). This figure should be compared to the previous period when there was a balance of unused, moderately and heavily worn swords. This increase in circulation time is a sure sign of declining metal supplies due to a rather long-lasting breakdown of regular trade. In addition these later types of full-hilted Central European swords rarely came to Northern Europe. They testify to a new east–west Central European network, with a high degree of stylistic and formal homogeneity among swords, suggesting that either few workshops existed, or imitation was common (Stockhammer 2004, chap. 6). It was in the Nordic realm, however, that the unstable supply of metal during the 13th century BC was felt most strongly: here a whole generation of full-hilted Nordic swords had to be kept in circulation for a prolonged period of time. As a result their hilts were completely worn down, and furthermore the bronze was worn away in several places laying bare the inner clay core of the casting. This phenomenon can be observed throughout South Scandinavia and northern Germany during Montelius Period III, and it is well-documented in the Aner and Kersten volumes I–XX in drawings (eg, Aner & Kersten 2001; 2011). Full-hilted Nordic swords were finally deposited in burials towards the end of Period III during the 12th century BC when supplies were becoming stable again, now through political alliances with the Carpathian region.

These dramatic historical events tended to undermine the authority of ritual chiefs in the Nordic zone, which was linked to control over rituals and metal that was now becoming sparse, whereas warriors might benefit from taking part in raids and returning with riches from booty. In this way they could mobilise alternative wealth from raid and plunder, whether at home or as mercenaries in Central Europe or the Aegean where the flange-hilted sword testifies to the appearance of warriors from the north, mainly from Italy but also from Central Europe (Clausing 2003, Abb. 2; Jung & Mehofer 2013).

As return payment and booty they would bring new body armour to Central Europe (Goetze 1984; Clausing 2003, Abb. 4). Thus, after the deposition of the last generation of full-hilted Nordic swords towards the end of Period III, we see a major reorganisation of burial rituals. From this point urn burials become the norm, and large objects such as swords are no longer deposited, except in rare circumstances. The construction of thousands of barrows made of grass turf also came to an end, except for a few elite burials (Holst et al. 2013). A new political and ritual regime with less boasting of power had taken over, probably due to a centralisation of power in fewer hands, but also due to influence from the Lausitz/Lusatian culture. This new regime corresponds to similar changes in Central Europe (Clausing 2005), and the elites now shared international prestige goods of drinking and feasting (Metzner-Nebelsick 2003)."

'Connected Histories: the Dynamics of Bronze Age Interaction and Trade 1500–1100 BC' (2015)
This hypothesis seems to rely heavily on the finds of one type of sword and I can't quite see how it fits with other evidence of increasing bronze sword finds in the North Germany\Poland area as the Bronze age leads into the Iron age. Also where is the evidence of LESS bronze availability in the area? I can't help but feel that the major driver is Amber and Bronze and Bronze weapons were the way to dominate the Trade.

amber distribution.JPG

amber routes 2.jpg

At least to me, the above seems to confirm that "Danes" or rather their predecessors were losing control as the Trade shifted further East - from the Elbe route in the early Bronze Age to the Vistula by the time that Iron Age weapons were appearing on the battlefield.

On the question of bronze swords, there does not seem to be a lack - indeed the Eastern area appears to bristle with finds as the Bronze Age progresses.
 
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Aug 2019
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The tin was even a much rarer material to find than copper. The bretons at devon and those area's should have been incredible wealthy, the wealthiest in europe i suppose. Where are the findings of their wealth and culture?
 
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The tin was even a much rarer material to find than copper. The bretons at devon and those area's should have been incredible wealthy, the wealthiest in europe i suppose. Where are the findings of their wealth and culture?
The main tin mines were in the upland areas of Cornwall. Despite being a desolate area, with a very thin, poor soil, the population expanded many fold in the Bronze age. However although tin mining created this large increase, it does not seem to have made the local people wealthy - there are only two richly furnished EBA/MBA graves in the locality.

The benefit of this wealth seems to have accrued to the Wessex Culture (no relation at all to the later Anglo-Saxon Kingdom which takes the same name) slightly further East.

 
Aug 2018
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The tin was even a much rarer material to find than copper. The bretons at devon and those area's should have been incredible wealthy, the wealthiest in europe i suppose. Where are the findings of their wealth and culture?
some bronze age artefacts from Britain:







Mold Cape, c.1900-1600 BC
 
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