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In 1960, archaeologists found body armor in the village of Dendra, near what was once the ancient Greek city of Mycenae, with a helmet clad with boars’ tusks and a suit consisting of bronze plates.

While it appeared quite sturdy, archaeologists wondered whether Mycenaean soldiers used it in battle or if it was only ceremonial.

Now, after a group of scientists tested the armor’s effectiveness, they found that it could survive hours of intense warfare, LiveScience reported.

That’s because early metalworkers and smiths strongly kept to the “built to last” standard when making their products, according to a new study on Bronze Age armor that dates back 3,500 years.

To learn how these ancient artisans achieved this, the researchers developed nearly identical replicas of the artifact using the closest alloy to the original bronze material. The team also copied the measurements right down to the “dimension, curvature and perforations of the original.”

They then equipped 13 soldiers from the Hellenic Armed Forces with the armor and weapon replicas and had them simulate 11-hour Bronze Age battles.

The simulations were based on historical data taken from Homer’s “The Iliad,” an epic account of the Trojan War.

“We extracted the information needed to create a Late Bronze Age combat simulation protocol, replicating the daily activities performed by elite warriors in the Late Bronze Age,” the team wrote in their paper.

This data also included combat conditions, such as the climate in that period and the diet Mycenaean soldiers subsisted on – the latter was made up of bread, beef, goat’s cheese, green olives, onions, and red wine.

The findings found that the 51-pound armor did not hinder movement or cause significant strain. Participants engaged in various combat scenarios, such as duels and chariot battles, demonstrating that the armor was practical for combat, not merely ceremonial.

“We found that the armor allowed full flexibility of movement and did not exert excessive physiological stress on the body,” lead author Andreas Flouris said in a statement. “This means … the armor could be worn for extended periods by fit individuals in battle.”

Correction: In Monday’s THE WORLD, BRIEFLY section, we said in our “A Matter of Interpretation” item that Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital. It is in fact Jerusalem. We apologize for the error.

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