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L'armement en métal au Proche et Moyen-Orient : des origines à 1750 av. J.-C.

Abstract : Arts and crafts are one of the most revealants cultural witnesses for the study of the prehistorical and protohistorical periods, because they are the result of « savoire-faire » , technics, designs and functions which include tradition and change. Among this material culture, weaponry is very important, since it means the contact point between the craftmen and the impact point between people.

The story of the invention and the evolution of weapons is related to needs, abilities and limits linked to three main factors :

- the metal, which allows complex forms perfectly adapted to a specific use.
- strategy in constant evolution and interaction with the material possibilities (quality and quantity) and the social and politic environment.
- cultural traditions. The increasing knowledge is ponderated by the cultural choices. Some forms and types are the result of some research of identity more than a technical limit.

The main base of this resarch is constituted by a large corpus of weapons, from the first metallic ones during the Chalcolithic to the numerous and variated weapons of the Middle Bronze Age.

Until now, there was no global synthesis on this subject. Most studies concerned one form or one region. We have choose to treat the whole phenomenon, in a large geographic scale (including Eastern Aegean, Anatolia, the Caucasus, Mesopotamia, the Levant, Northen Egypt, Cyprus, Iran, Persian Gulf, Margiana – 620 sites) and on the « longue durée ».
In order to know and to understand the patterns of invention, development and diffusion of forms ans types, we had to create a large database. 6133 weapons are described in about sixty fields which include intrinsec data (form, dimensions, metallography), extrinsec data (region, site, context, assemblage), analytic data (typology, chronology) and bibliographical data.
This database have been integrated in a GIS, allowing a evolutive cartography of weapons.

The results of the typo-chronological analysis and of the distribution of weapons allow us to consider the evolution, the transmission and the exchanges in a dynamic way. The high complexity demonstrates a non-linear evolution linked to the interaction between technics and society.
Iconography was also an impotant source for the understanding of stategical and cultural facts, and so were all the contextual data. Most of all, the cultual or economical deposits, and the large quantity and variety of graves permitted to reinforce the analytical link between objects and people.

From the study of metal weapons, the non-material questions were maybe the more important and the more difficult to answer : it's the case for identity, diffusion of knowledge, invention and the cultural diversity of the Ancient Near East people.
Document type :
Complete list of metadatas
Contributor : Guillaume Gernez <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, November 25, 2008 - 12:40:22 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, December 22, 2020 - 3:48:02 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 12:00:15 PM


  • HAL Id : tel-00339404, version 1


Guillaume Gernez. L'armement en métal au Proche et Moyen-Orient : des origines à 1750 av. J.-C.. Sciences de l'Homme et Société. Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, 2007. Français. ⟨tel-00339404⟩



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