The accuracy of carbon dating
A sword consists of a long blade attached to a hilt. Thrusting swords have a pointed tip on the blade, and tend to be straighter; slashing swords have sharpened cutting edge on one or both sides of the blade, and are more likely to be curved.
Many swords are designed for both thrusting and slashing.
One of the most important, and longest-lasting, types swords of the European Bronze Age was the Naue II type (named for Julius Naue who first described them), also known as Griffzungenschwert (lit. During its lifetime, metallurgy changed from bronze to iron, but not its basic design.
Naue II swords were exported from Europe to the Aegean, and as far afield as Ugarit, beginning about 1200 BC, i.e.
The Greek xiphos and the Roman gladius are typical examples of the type, measuring some 60 to 70 cm (24 to 28 in).
Swords from the Parthian and Sassanian Empires were quite long, the blades on some late Sassanian swords being just under a metre long.
Although iron swords were made alongside bronze, it was not until the early Han period that iron completely replaced bronze. The iron was not quench-hardened although often containing sufficient carbon, but work-hardened like bronze by hammering.
Naue II swords could be as long as 85 cm, but most specimens fall into the 60 to 70 cm range.
when the construction of longer blades became possible, from the late 3rd millennium BC in the Middle East, first in arsenic copper, then in tin-bronze.
Blades longer than 60 cm (24 in) were rare and not practical until the late Bronze Age because the tensile strength of bronze is relatively low, and consequently longer blades would bend easily.
They could still bend during use rather than spring back into shape. In many late Iron Age graves, the sword and the scabbard were bent at 180 degrees. Thus they might have considered swords as the most potent and powerful object.
But the easier production, and the better availability of the raw material for the first time permitted the equipment of entire armies with metal weapons, though Bronze Age Egyptian armies were sometimes fully equipped with bronze weapons. The sword was often placed on the right side of the corpse. By the time of Classical Antiquity and the Parthian and Sassanid Empires in Iran, iron swords were common.
The spatha, as it developed in the Late Roman army, became the predecessor of the European sword of the Middle Ages, at first adopted as the Migration period sword, and only in the High Middle Ages, developed into the classical arming sword with crossguard. The use of a sword is known as swordsmanship or, in a modern context, as fencing.