all 6 comments

[–]MyPigWhistles 2 points3 points  (3 children)

It's called experimental archeology and it's not a branch of history science. It definitely can provide valuable input, although it can also push misconceptions and popular myths. Myths like that knights were generally unable to move dismounted in their heavy armor etc. were popularized by people who experimented with stuff without knowing the actual historical context. But history science and experimental archeology working together can certainly create a new and valuable perspective on many things.

[–]pro_deluxe[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Very interesting. I've definitely heard the myth that knights had a hard time moving in armor. On shows like Full Metal Jousting the first thing people comment when they put on armor is how light and maneuverable it is. Movements that can be completed while wearing armor are clear from martial arts manuals. Where did the myth come from then? Was it based on how maneuverable old rusty artifacts were?

[–]MyPigWhistles 1 point2 points  (1 child)

The majority (by far) of the late medieval plate armor that survived is tournament armor for jousting, so basically very specialized sports equipment, designed for maximum protection and just flexible enough to sit on a horse and hold a lance. The helmet was often directly attached to the armor, so you couldn't even move your head.

They survived, because these tournaments were socially important events and rich nobles wanted to wear armor that represented their social status. When armor became more and more obsolete, these beautiful pieces were kept and passed on. The actual battle field armor wasn't that interesting to look at, so we have much fewer examples today.

People saw and tested tournament armor and concluded that knights would be completely helpless if they fell from their horse during battle. The misconception is basically like if people in 1,000 years would look at formula one racing cars and assumed 21st century people used these to pick up the kids from school. This myth became super popular, although we have many written sources about knights dismounting during battle and advancing on food. There were also tournaments fought on food. This specific super heavy armor is really just for horseback jousting and nothing else.

[–]pro_deluxe[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Great explanation thank you!

[–]Lukas-96 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Experimental archeology definitely has its place. history and classic archeology have their limits and it's good to try and look for new ways to investigate the past.

You might enjoy forged in fire. They have multiple blacksmiths and each of them forges a version of the same weapon per episode and they do some tests to determine who made the best piece.

[–]pro_deluxe[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I have seen Forged in Fire and Knife Fight. I do thoroughly enjoy them, but find the historical information lacking