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Title: Searching for the Origin of the 'Bronze Swords with Iron Core' in Northwestern Iran and the Caucasus Region
Author(s): KONTANI, Ryoichi
Journal: Iranica Antiqua
Volume: 40    Date: 2005   
Pages: 397-421
DOI: 10.2143/IA.40.0.583218

Abstract :
In November 2001, we confirmed the existence of bronze swords with iron cores in the Okayama Orient Museum collection and conducted a chemical analysis of these iron cores . Our subsequent research confirmed that these swords belonged to the Iron Age II in northwestern Iran (the southwestern coast of the Caspian Sea). We also held an exhibition entitled, “Treasures from Ancient Iran: Metalworking Culture in the Mountains” in which we displayed and commented on all the bronze swords with iron core. Some researchers are well aware of the fact that bimetal, or combined metal of bronze and iron, was used in “Luristan bronze” in which the iron was readily visible on the surface (e.g., a sword, with a bronze hilt and an iron blade). In contrast, the sword we have discovered is unusual in that it appears to be a bronze sword, but its hilt has an iron core that is not visible on the surface. An important clue that will help us unravel this mystery is the production techniques of the time. With this purpose in mind, we examined the sword-making techniques of the time as carefully as possible.

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