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A unique iron age shield made of bark provides a fascinating insight into the prehistoric weapons technology.
Built with strips of wood, the shield is the first of its kind in Europe, according to the british University of York, which has an analysis of the artifact.
Radiocarbon dating indicates that the shield was built between 395 and 255 B. C. CT-scanning and 3D-printing, also used to get behind the shield of the secrets.
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The shield was discovered in 2015 by archaeologists from the University of Leicester Archaeological Services on the site of Everard Meadows, eating, drinking, and recreational development in the vicinity of the city of Leicester. The area where the shield was found, is thought to be an old watering hole. It is also close to the Fosse Way, a well-known Roman road.
The unusual shield is described as the first-of-its-kind found in Europe. (University of York)
After analyzing the shield, experts believe that it was stiffened with strips of wood, a wooden border border and a woven boss in the middle of the shield that protected the user of the handle.
“This is really amazing, and the unknown artifact has given us an insight into prehistoric technology that we never can guess,” said Michael Bamforth of the University of York’s Department of Archaeology, in a statement. “Although we know that the bark has many uses, including the making of boxes and containers do not survive well in the archaeological finds. At first we were not thinking that the bark can be strong enough to use as a shield to defend against spears and swords, and we wondered if it might be for ceremonial use.”
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The research shows that the shield was seriously damaged before she was buried, with a number of the damage, apparently caused by spear tips. “Further analysis is planned to help understand if this happened in the battle or as an act of ritual destruction,” explained the University of York, in his statement.
“It was only by means of experiments which we realized could be strong enough to protect against blows from metal weapons,” said Bamforth. “Although a bark shield is not as strong as one made of wood or metal, it would be much lighter, allowing the user much more freedom of movement.”
The shield on the outside had been painted and scored with a red chessboard decoration, according to the research.
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The artifact, which has been preserved by the York Archaeological Trust, will now be deposited in the British Museum. “This is an absolutely phenomenal object, one of the most beautiful, internationally important discoveries that I have encountered in my career”, said Dr. Julia Farley, curator of the British and European iron age Collections of the British Museum, in the statement.
Other historic sites in the united kingdom are revealing their secrets. A missing piece of Stonehenge, for example, was recently returned 60 years after it went missing during an archaeological dig.
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Earlier this year, a 14-year-old student in Scotland helped to discover long-lost medieval stone sculptures in a church in the cemetery.
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers