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A prehistoric shield made of bark has been found with a stud (shown) on the center of a shield formed from a willow core stitched together with a flat fiber of grass, rushes or bast fibers. The image shows the front of the shield

An incredibly well-preserved shield made from tree bark can be the find of the century and bring about a revolution in what is known about Celtic weapons.

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It is the first shield ever excavated in Europe and made from bark and dated by archaeologists who found it in Leicestershire as being 2,400 years old.

All the other shields that had previously been dug up on the continent were made of wood or metal.

The use of bark made it much lighter than the alternatives and would have allowed his wheeler to move quickly because they were not limited by a cumbersome shield.

Analysis shows that it was reinforced with wooden straps and provided with a rim and handle to make it easier to hold and use.

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A prehistoric shield made of bark has been found with a stud (shown) on the center of a shield formed from a willow core stitched together with a flat fiber of grass, rushes or bast fibers. The image shows the front of the shield

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A prehistoric shield made of bark has been found with a stud (shown) on the center of a shield formed from a willow core stitched together with a flat fiber of grass, rushes or bast fibers. The image shows the front of the shield

The shield was first discovered in 2015 south of Leicester on the Everards Meadows, buried deep in the marshy soil of the excavation.

Known as the Enderby shield, it measured 26 x 15 inches (670 x 370 mm) in the ground in a place where archaeologists think it was once a well.

Matt Beamish, project officer at the University of Leicester Archeology Services (ULAS), said to MailOnline: & # 39; The shield was found face down in the ground and you could see part of the handle on the inside. & # 39;

Radiocarbon from the found wood pieces is dated between 395 and 255 BC and researchers have made a modern copy with bark cut from a tree.

A detailed analysis showed that the bark came from alder, willow, poplar, hazel or spindle and that the outer bark formed the inside of the shield.

The reinforcement straps were made from apple, pear, quince or hawthorn, while the edge was a half-split hazel bar, the researchers from the University of York say they found it.

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The stud on the center of the shield was made of a willow core that was stitched together with a flat fiber of grass, rushes or bast fibers.

& # 39; The handle made of willow roundwood, flattened at the end and notched, and attached to the bark with twisted bands, & # 39; said the archaeologists.

The shield was painted and scored in a red checkerboard embellishment using hematite-based paint and was probably severely damaged by the pointed ends of the nearby spears before being thrown into the ground.

Researchers used a series of analytical techniques to understand the construction of the object, including CT scanning and 3D printing.

The object is dated to 2300 years ago and has all the signs of a work shield. The image shows the inside of the shield as it was found, & # 39; upside down & # 39; in the ground and part of the handle can be seen in the middle

The object is dated to 2300 years ago and has all the signs of a work shield. The image shows the inside of the shield as it was found, & # 39; upside down & # 39; in the ground and part of the handle can be seen in the middle

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The object is dated to 2300 years ago and has all the signs of a work shield. The image shows the inside of the shield as it was found, & # 39; upside down & # 39; in the ground and part of the handle can be seen in the middle

Analysis shows that it was reinforced with wooden straps and has a rim and handle. Shown is a reconstructed shield made by researchers from bark

Analysis shows that it was reinforced with wooden straps and has a rim and handle. Shown is a reconstructed shield made by researchers from bark

Analysis shows that it was reinforced with wooden straps and has a rim and handle. Shown is a reconstructed shield made by researchers from bark

Dr. Rachel Crellin, a lecturer later in prehistory at the University of Leicester, explained why the find was so unique.

She added: “Bast and basketry were probably common in ancient Britain, but they rarely survive, so it is a great privilege to study this shield. It contains a wealth of information about the Iron Age society and craft practices.

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& # 39; Our first thoughts that a bark shield would be too fragile for combat use.

& # 39; Our experimental work showed that the shield was resistant to heavy shocks, including protection against arrows.

& # 39; A bark shield, although not as strong as a solid wood or metal shield, is much lighter, allowing speed and movement. & # 39;

According to the Count's website, shield shields may have been commonplace in the Iron Age, but the lack of wood retention and the biased survival of metal makes it difficult to find evidence.

The shield was first found of its kind in Europe, although there is evidence for bark shields in the southern hemisphere, from Australia, Borneo and the Philippines.

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The famous The Battersea Shield, dated 350-150 BC, is made from different pieces of plate bronze and is in fact a metal cap that was attached to the front of a wooden shield.

Known as the Enderby shield, it measured 26 x 15 inches (670 x 370 mm) in the ground and was found in a place where archaeologists think it was once a well (see above)

Known as the Enderby shield, it measured 26 x 15 inches (670 x 370 mm) in the ground and was found in a place where archaeologists think it was once a well (see above)

Known as the Enderby shield, it measured 26 x 15 inches (670 x 370 mm) in the ground and was found in a place where archaeologists think it was once a well (see above)

WHY WAS THE SHIELD OF BARK MADE?

There is good ethnographic evidence for shields made from bark in the southern hemisphere, from Australia, Borneo and the Philippines.

However, there is little evidence for this in Europe Julius Caesar noted in his Commentarii De Bello Gallico (Commentaries on the Gallic War) that the Gauls had shields made of bark or interwoven wicks, hastily covering them with skins & # 39 ;.

The famous The Battersea Shield, dated 350-150 BC, is made from different pieces of plate bronze and is in fact a metal cap that was attached to the front of a wooden shield.

Although a bark shield is not as strong as a bark made of wood or metal, the use of bark would have made the weapon much lighter than metal or wood and would have given soldiers more speed, archaeologists say.

Michael Bamforth, project manager at the Archeology Department at the University of York, said: “Initially we didn't think bark could be strong enough to use as a shield against spears and swords and we wondered if it was for ceremonial use could be. .

& # 39; It was only through experiments that we realized that it could be strong enough to protect against metal guns.

Although a bark shield is not as strong as a shield made of wood or metal, it would be much lighter, giving the user much more freedom of movement. & # 39;

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Further analysis is planned to help understand whether this took place in the battle or as an act of ritual destruction.

The shield is now preserved by the York Archaeological Trust and will be deposited at the British Museum on behalf of Everards of Leicestershire, who funded and supported the project.

The use of bark would have made the weapon much lighter than metal or wood, and would have given soldiers more speed, archaeologists say. The image shows that the front (left) and back (right) of the piecestha form the shield, the last one showing the handle

The use of bark would have made the weapon much lighter than metal or wood, and would have given soldiers more speed, archaeologists say. The image shows that the front (left) and back (right) of the piecestha form the shield, the last one showing the handle

The use of bark would have made the weapon much lighter than metal or wood, and would have given soldiers more speed, archaeologists say. The image shows that the front (left) and back (right) of the piecestha form the shield, the last one showing the handle

The shield was found south of Leicester on the Everards Meadows, buried deep in the marshy soil of the excavation. The image shows researchers from Leicester University who are trying to reconstruct the shield

The shield was found south of Leicester on the Everards Meadows, buried deep in the marshy soil of the excavation. The image shows researchers from Leicester University who are trying to reconstruct the shield

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The shield was found south of Leicester on the Everards Meadows, buried deep in the marshy soil of the excavation. The image shows researchers from Leicester University who are trying to reconstruct the shield

WHAT WAS CELTIC ARMS?

The Celts made refined and horrific weapons.

Some of the best Celtic art in Iron Age Britain was used to decorate killing machines, in particular sheath, sword shafts and shields.

The treasure Eaton, found on the edges of Norwich, contains 145 bronze axes and spearheads dating between 950BC and 750BC.

It showed a warring civilization and quite advanced production that could prove weapons on a mass production basis.

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The Greeks and Romans regarded the Celts as wild barbarians with their horned helmets and glossy, lavishly decorated shields, they were entirely intended to present as shocking a picture as possible.

Their weapons were not only to kill, but also to shine, to put the fear of God into the enemy, long before their weapons collided.

The & # 39; Battersea shield & # 39; found in the Thames in Battersea, South London, and thought to be made between 350BC and 50BC, is made of polished bronze, raised decoration and an inlay of red glass . It is thought to be a & # 39; display shield & # 39; has been raised in flamboyant view to make the enemy vibrate.

It was known that Celts attacked en masse during battles at top speed and only killing their enemies was not enough.

Evidence shows that they ripped the heads of their dead enemies and attached them to their belts or horses, a symbol of the power they had taken from those who had conquered them.

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