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The Shield


Although a very powerful symbol of defence, shields must be seen as a weapon as well as armour. A shield can be used to crush or choke - to bring down, pin down, and immobilise an enemy. Shields are often decorated and flamboyant, suggesting they may have provided symbolic as well as physical protection.

Most shields are made of wood with metal fittings which are both for reinforcement and decoration or display. The labour and artistry shows that they were objects which mattered to people. Shields were a part of a warrior's costume - their 'dress to impress'.

All that remains of the North Bersted sheild is a butterfly shaped boss made from a thin bronze sheet with a distinctive coned point in the middle. Bronze is an unusual material for a boss, iron being more common. The shape of the boss was not just for decoration and show, but could also make a wound that rendered someone susceptible to infection. Although there is no evidence from the grave regarding the structure of the shield, Iron Age shields like the Mystery Warrior's were usually either oval or hourglass in form.

The boss is bent on one side, showing it had been deliberately dismantled. Its location in the grave indicates that the damage had been done prior to burial. This is an example of the ritual 'killing' of weaponry.

It is made from a thin bronze sheet and has a distinctive high coned point.
The Mystery Warrior's 'Winged' or 'Butterfly' shaped bronze boss is all that remains of the Mystery Warrior's shield.
The shield itself was made from Ash.


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