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Bronze Age blades from the “Sögel-Wohlde-District”

The blades of the so-called Sögel-Wohlde-Kreis are regarded as the earliest sword forms (or long dagger forms) of the Nordic Bronze Age.

  • Runtime: 01.02.2022 - 31.01.2025
  • Partner: Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt

Origin, development and technology of Bronze Age blades from the “Sögel-Wohlde-District”

The blades of the so-called Sögel-Wohlde-Kreis are regarded as the earliest sword forms (or long dagger forms) of the Nordic Bronze Age. They suddenly appear as attributes of a culture in northern Germany and southern Denmark around 1600 B.C., without having local precursors in this region. Previously there was no pronounced metal or bronze tradition in the “Nordic Circle”, which is why their origin is generally seen in connection with imports. However, there are still controversial views in archaeological research as to exactly where the blades came from and what their archetypes were. This point is of particular importance, as it can provide a decisive insight into the development and establishment of (bronze) metallurgy in the Nordic Bronze Age.

The question of metal resources and the resulting trade and communication networks of the Early/Middle Bronze Age are also of considerable importance. The interdisciplinary research project Origin, development and technology of the Bronze Age blades of the Sögel-Wohlde-Kreis” is dedicated exactly to this point, as the so-called Sögel and Wohlde blades as key finds of the Nordic Circle as well as the metal finds associated with them in graves will completely archaeometallurgically recorded for the first time. Apart from investigations on the chemical composition, hundreds of isotopic analyses are planned. Besides common lead isotope ratios, the still little used tin and copper isotopic compositions of bronzes are to be determined. In addition to insights into the raw material deposits (especially copper), new insights into the relationships between the artefacts are expected.

In addition, the controversial question of the origin of the blades will be investigated by comparisons with objects from the supposed regions of origin. The project is supported by metallographic and technological studies, which should provide information about possible production centres for the blades. By comparison with existing data of Nordic and Central European metal objects, the artefacts will be placed in a supra-regional context in order to allow more far-reaching statements about the development of metallurgy and trade networks in the Nordic Circle. At the same time, the project closes a research gap, as metallurgical investigations for the investigated area (especially Northern Germany) are largely lacking.