European Bronze Age Symbols in Prehistoric Greece? Reconsidering Bronze Shields and Spears from Delphi in Their Wider Context

by Barry Molloy

Hesperia, Volume 87, Issue 2
Page(s): 279-309
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2972/hesperia.87.2.0279
Year: 2018


Enigmatic objects from various sites in the eastern Mediterranean are modeled after shields that have a V-notch symbol, which are found widely across Europe. While the pieces from Greece are conventionally dated to the 8th to 7th century B.C., a recent reanalysis of one such shield from Delphi indicates that it was manufactured in the final centuries of the Bronze Age. This redating calls into question the cultural milieu in which this European-type object and the V-notch symbolism were adopted and given meaning in the Mediterranean. It is argued that Bronze Age shields were items of display that either remained visible or were rediscovered in the Iron Age, and, along with offensive weapons to be discussed, some served as models for copies designed for display and votive deposition.