• Arianna Bruno

Student thesis: Phd


This research explores the phenomenon of Bronze Age spearheads between the Middle and Final Bronze Age (18th century-9th century B.C.) in Italy. It will explore how these objects change over time and analyse patterns of distribution as well as changes in depositional context. The thesis consists of a catalogue of examples from the Italian Peninsula which are analysed in two ways: first, a typological sequence has been constructed, in order to identify differences in form, appearance and dimension, in order to analyze chronological and regional variation. Second, edge-wear analysis is conducted on a sample of objects in order to gain an appreciation of how this method can inform the archaeological interpretation of artefact biographies. The premise of such a study is rooted in a theoretical framework which argues that objects embody fundamental aspects of people's social lives. As weapons for both hunting and warfare, spears embody rich symbolism which was drawn upon by Bronze Age communities, in many different ways. The biographical approach reveals close connections between these objects and the lives of individuals, the places they lived in as well locales which were of ritual importance to them. The edge-wear analysis also suggests that these objects were conceptualized as having lives which were ritually ended through deliberate damage, in addition to natural wear, damage and repair. These studies are situated within broader traditions of northern European archaeological evidence. The thesis concludes by arguing this biographical approach considerably enriches more traditional typological approaches to material culture. When used in combination with the study of the context of deposition, it suggests Mediterranean scholarship on prehistoric metallurgy can benefit greatly from these conjoined methodologies.
Date of Award1 Aug 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMelanie Giles (Supervisor) & Maria Kostoglou (Supervisor)


  • Italian spearheads, Bronze Age, role of materials, edge-wear study

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