The  Shields

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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 model.

A broard shieldThe 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.

The front & back of a typical shield.

               Pictures, courtesy of (3), and are made by Dan Feldfos.

A drawing of the handle insertion in a shieldMost 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.

An example of a handle mounted in grooves.    A close-up of the handle from the above shield.
Picture, courtesy of (3), and are made by Dan Feldfos.

One type of shield-bossTo 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.

The only shield made from one pice of wood (front & back).
Pictures, courtesy of (3), and are made by Dan Feldfos.

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