The find of wooden shields in the Hjortspring bog is the largest
collection of preserved shields from the whole of Europe’s prehistory. Many of the
shields was not fully preserved when they were excavated, but it was possible to
re-assemble 50 shields. In addition to these, remnants of other shields were found -
probably the total number of shields lies between 60 and 80. The shields are of Celtic
The shields are all of the same basic shape – four-cornered oblong, some
narrow, others broader almost square. All have rounded side-edges and corners. The length
varies from 61 to 88 cm (24 to 34.5 inches), the width from 22 to 52 cm (8.5 to 20.5
inches). The largest shields measures 88 x 50 cm (34.5 x 20 inches) and the smallest
measures 66 x 29 cm (26 x 11.5 inches).
Picture, courtesy of (2), fig. 31, p. 56.
Most of the shield plates are cut from one piece of
wood, but some of the shield plates are made up of two or three planks, assembled with
tenons and resin putty.
In the center of the shield plate an oval hole for the handle is cut. In the sides of
these holes grooves are cut for mounting the handle. The handle has a tenon in both ends
and the handle is mounted by turning the tenons into the grooves in the hole. The handles
are all mounted across the shields.
A close-up of the handle from the above
Picture, courtesy of (3), and are
made by Dan Feldfos.
To protect the hand the shields were fitted with a wooden shield-boss. It was
cut in a single piece and of a characteristic pointed shape, which swells out in the
middle. Lengthways it has grooves and raised ridges. On some shields the ridge continues
in the shield-plate itself. The shield-bosses were mounted on the shield with resin.
Picture, courtesy of (2), fig. 28 (b), p. 51.
One shield is different from all other shields. The shield plate, handle and
shield-boss is all cut in one piece of wood.
Pictures, courtesy of (3), and
are made by Dan Feldfos.