Warriors of Zakros – 2017!

The Mycenaean Figure-of-Eight Shield,
was a full length, hide covered body shield that was used by Mycenaean warriors during the Bronze Age in Greece. It was an image that resonated greatly throughout the Bronze Age Aegean. In its prime it was a symbol of power; a warrior’s pride and identity.

 

It hung on the backs of those who went to war or on the hunt and proudly hung on the walls of palaces, until its final days, when it became no more than a curious and beautiful motif; preserved in the various forms of Late Mycenaean Jewellery and fresco; thinly waisted and seemingly busting with pride.

Having discovered Experimental Archaeology through it, It is a project that means a lot to me. Coupled with the fact, that it was the very subject of the first conversation I ever shared with my current supervisor. And quickly became the kind of project that takes to you like a fever; tempting me to spend days and nights, teeming over every image or drawing I could find in the literature or online; and eventually, travelling to sites and museums across Greece and Crete, to see it in its purest of forms.

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Making the shield, in order to understand how it was used in combat, lead to the various avenues of research I am involved in today, but 5 years on, thanks to ODAIOS FOODS and UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture, I am able to reopen the Figure of Eight Shield Project and attempt to reproduce several shields, this time, from completely authentic materials.

IMG_2178In August 2017, I will be making 6 complete shields for an event organised, catered and funded by  ODAIOS FOODS at the Minoan Palace of Zakros, on Crete.

Leading up to the event we hope:

  • To reopen and investigate the structure and form of the Mycenaean Figure of Eight Shield
  • To reproduce it using 100% authentic materials, such as woven wicker, naturally hardened raw hide and copper wire stitching.
  • To perform and reenact a live duel with figure-of-eight shields and spears at the Palace of Zakros, Crete, for the Bronze Man Event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Award winning Traditional Irish Basket Maker Joe Hogan, helps us weave our first shield.

The Project as already begun with exploring traditional methods of wicker work, one possible theory as to how such shields were made. Through ODAIOS, I was able to book a private lesson with renowned and award winning Basket Maker Joe Hogan. A wonderful way of bringing together too ancient uses of green woodworking, in one of the most stunning parts of Ireland I have ever seen. Here I was able to learn how to make Bronze Age coracle weave as well as some the oldest techniques of Irish basket making.

 

The next step will be to explore how to process and harden leather;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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