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Léonard Dumont

My research


PhD dissertation : "Production and diffusion of Bronze Age solid-hilted swords in Western Europe". Under the supervision of Guy De Mulder (associate professor, Ghent University, Department of Archaeology), Stefan Wirth (professor, université de Bourgogne, UMR 6298 ARTEHIS) and Sylvie Boulud-Gazo (associate professor, université de Nantes, UMR 6566 CReAAH).

The Bronze Age solid-hilted swords, mainly produced from the Middle Bronze Age onwards (16th century B.C.), have been a favourite subject of study for the first archaeologists since the 19th century. This research tradition, which focused on the study of forms and the establishment of typologies, continued into the 20th century, during which numerous regional syntheses were produced, particularly in the framework of the Prähistorische Bronzefunde. Thus, at present, these syntheses exist for a majority of European countries, with the exception of France and the Benelux countries. Technological studies of these swords are less numerous. German scholars (H. Drescher, J. Driehaus, H. J. Hundt...) were the pioneers in this field and carried out several works from the end of the 1950s and during the 1960s. Although a few studies were carried out in France, this remained marginal and it was not until the beginning of the 21st century that this type of research found a new impetus, particularly with the development of new technologies such as tomography. This imaging method allows the interior of the metal of the sword to be viewed with great precision and thus to study the arrangement of the various parts of the sword, their internal shape and the homogeneity of the metal in order to judge the quality of the casting.

A first study of bronze-handled swords discovered in France was carried out as part of a master's thesis, showing the potential of the technological approach for the study of these weapons, which has been little exploited until now. In the framework of the thesis, the first step will be to carry out an inventory that is as exhaustive as possible for the study area, while compiling in a database the information on swords already published in other European countries. In parallel, technological information will be acquired through macroscopic examinations, completed by scientific analyses (imagery, elemental analyses, etc.) in order to reconstruct the manufacturing process of these weapons and to identify the different stages of the operating chain. These technological data, combined with morphological studies, decorations and discovery contexts, will make it possible to revise the classification of metal-handled swords, which is still problematic at present, and to propose a "techno-chronology" to complement traditional typo-chronology.

By considering forms and techniques as constitutive elements of a material culture, the main objective of our study will be to use these data to identify production zones, or even the productions of certain workshops, and to differentiate them from consumption zones, while at the same time reflecting on the organisation of production and craftsmen. Exchanges and mobility of goods, ideas and people are also at the heart of our work. Finally, the functions and uses, both material and immaterial, of swords with metal handles will also be studied.

Théophane Nicolas   

Journal articles1 document

  • Léonard Dumont, Virginie Dupuy, Théophane Nicolas, Charlène Pelé-Meziani, Guy de Mulder. The Protohistoric sword from Le Gué-de-Velluire (Vendée, France): a pasticcio's history unveiled by archaeometrical research. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, Elsevier, 2020, 34 (A), pp.102645. ⟨10.1016/j.jasrep.2020.102645⟩. ⟨hal-02991508⟩