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Bronze Age Swage Block

Bronze Age Swage Block - Source photograph copyright (c) Institute of Nautical Archaeology

Bronze Age Swage Block or Anvil from Cyprus:

Found by undersea archeologist George F. Bass and his team at the site of a Bronze Age shipwreck off Cape Gelidonya, Turkey. The time of the shipwreck is estimated to be about 1200 BC. This is the era of the stories of Homer, the vessel probably from Syria or Phoenicia. Hammers found on the site were the ovoid pierced stone type. This may be the oldest known tool of its kind.

Recent, unpublished laboratory analyse of the entire Cape Gelidonya collection shows that this tool originated on the Island of Cyprus. The Development of Maritime Archaeology, George F. Bass, The Oxford Handbook of Maritime Archaeology, 2011.

This handsome but well worn little block has features common to modern swage and dapping blocks. Half rounds, V's and punching/dapping holes. Cast in bronze it would be more durable than later cast iron blocks and suitable for working non-ferrous metals hot and cold as well as light work in wrought iron. Notice the even progression of the V grooves on the facing side, each slightly farther apart than the next, the result of careful design.

Dimensions (reduced by corrosion): 10cm long, 3.8cm wide, 3.8cm high.
The larger hole is 15mm in diameter, tapering to 6mm and the smaller is 10mm tapering to 4mm.

Calculated weight via. estimated volume 7.66cuin. (125.5cm3):
       Copper 2.47lbs. (1.12kg), Bronze 2.44lbs (1.10kg)

Located at Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology in Turkey.

For more details about the find see INSTITUTE OF NAUTICAL ARCHAEOLOGY website hosted by Texas A&M University.

Specifically the article, Bronze Age Shipwreck Excavation at Cape Gelidonya

See also: The Antiquity of the Swage Block : A History

Source photograph copyright (c) Institute of Nautical Archaeology (Used under license).


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