Archaeologists have found a 2300-year-old shield from the bark of a tree - is it better than metal shields?

A couple of thousand years ago, mankind masteredmetallurgy, and people learned to create truly deadly swords and spears from metal. Based on this, one can imagine what the surprise of archaeologists from the University of York was when, in 2015, they found a shield of those times, made of light, and rather thin tree bark. Products made from organic materials are quickly destroyed, but due to high humidity, the ancient remedy has survived for more than 2,300 years. The reconstruction showed that it really could protect against the blows of swords and spears.

The find was called the Enderby shield - according toresearchers, it was made from the bark of alder, willow, poplar or hazel. Radiocarbon analysis showed that it was manufactured between 395 and 255 years BC. With a width of 37 centimeters, the length of the shield was 67 centimeters. To reinforce the structure, thin wooden planks and a frame framing the entire shape of the protective tool were used. The inner side of the crust was intended for taking blows, and the uneven outer surface was directed at the shield holder.

Researchers have already found bark productsof those times, but caskets and other objects were made from it, but not defensive devices. The new discovery forced historians to take a fresh look at the methods of making weapons for people who lived thousands of years ago.

This truly amazing artifact gave us a glimpse of prehistoric technologies that we never guessed, ”said Michael Bamfort, an archaeologist at York University.

The analysis showed that the shield was well decorated - hehad a red color, and was outlined by a chess pattern. Before the loss of an unknown warrior, he was badly damaged by spear tips. The researchers also noted that the shield had a “waist shape,” and could inspire people to create metal shields of the same shape.

Initially, researchers believed that this kind ofthe shield could not properly protect the soldiers from the blows; however, after its reconstruction, they found an interesting shield feature. It turned out that being light, he defended from strikes, and gave the soldier greater freedom of movement. This is considered the main advantage of the shield from the bark over metal counterparts.

Only as a result of experiments, we realized thatit can be tough enough to protect against metal strikes. The bark shield is not as durable as wood or metal, but it is much lighter and provides much more freedom of movement, Bamfort explained.

Archaeologists also find larger defensivestructures. For example, they recently excavated the ancient fortress of Egypt, which was destroyed during the Persian invasion. More information about the find can be found in our material.

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