This tutorial describes the development of swords, their influence on the evolution of materials, and their impact on society. Swords can be dated to the Bronze Age and over time came to be found in many different cultures. They evolved not only geographically, but also with respect to their design and the materials used for manufacture as the nature of conflict evolved. Some of the most advanced materials and manufacturing techniques prior to the modern age find expression in sword manufacture. Carbon dating of ancient iron and steel weapons, and even their oxides in some cases (which retain iron carbide particles), can be used effectively to resolve the date of manufacture. Coupled with their range of styles and compositions, the study of swords is an extremely valuable archeological too.

This paper was originally published in Materials Characterization 99 (2015) Pages 1-7

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