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Ahmad Tabari





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PostPosted: Wed 25 May, 2011 10:04 pm    Post subject: Sutton Hoo mail         Reply with quote

Hello everyone. I was just reading the Osprey publication 'Saxons, Vikings, and Normans', and I was surprised to find that the author stated that the Sutton Hoo mail shirt was made from alternate rows of riveted and butted rings. I am aware that the same thing was said of the Kirkburn mail, but that after X-ray examination it was found that all the rings were riveted. Has the Sutton Hoo mail been X-rayed to prove that non of the rings were butted?

Last edited by Ahmad Tabari on Wed 25 May, 2011 10:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Wed 25 May, 2011 10:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is a mistake, fairly typical for Osprey books, which must be taken with a grain of salt. Some decorative mail from that period may have been butted, but any actual armor would not be, for obvious reasons.
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Ahmad Tabari





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PostPosted: Wed 25 May, 2011 10:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Woodruff wrote:
That is a mistake, fairly typical for Osprey books, which must be taken with a grain of salt. Some decorative mail from that period may have been butted, but any actual armor would not be, for obvious reasons.


Thats what I thought
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Ahmad Tabari





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PostPosted: Wed 25 May, 2011 10:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have just went over the book and apparently the author says that radiography was indeed used to determine that the mail was made of alternating rows of riveted and butted rings. Considering this mail was supposed to have belonged to a King, I find this strange.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 26 May, 2011 4:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Radiography was used to prove that the rings were riveted. Before this analysis was done it was believed that the links were butted.
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Paul Mortimer




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PostPosted: Thu 26 May, 2011 7:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan is quite right - the mail was found to be alternate riveted an solid rings when radiographed. There is (was) a lot of it, too; at least a full length single garment, possible two smaller. Unfortunately all that remains are corrosion products. One curious aspect of the mail is that the rivets were made of copper. There are other shirts that appear to have copper rivets; unfortunately, I have lost the reference.


Paul
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Chuck Russell




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PostPosted: Thu 26 May, 2011 8:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

yes paul, i remember that too. most shirts thought to have been butted had indeed copper rivets. i for the life of me can't find the reference either.
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Ahmad Tabari





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PostPosted: Thu 26 May, 2011 12:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Radiography was used to prove that the rings were riveted. Before this analysis was done it was believed that the links were butted.


Thats what I thought originally, but according to Terence Wise "radiography revealed that it was composed of alternate rows of rivetted and butted rings". But I suppose recent x-rays proved otherwise.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 26 May, 2011 3:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as I know the Sutton Hoo mail was only analysed once using this technology. Wise is simply wrong.
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Juan Cocinas




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PostPosted: Fri 27 May, 2011 12:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Would copper rivets substantially weaken maille? Were they common in that era?
"Resist your time- take a foothold outside it." Lord Acton
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Fri 27 May, 2011 5:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as I know there is no evidence for butted mail from Sutton Hoo. There are clear shows of rivet heads on many of the scans they did into the mass of material, a few of which I have been able to see.

RPM
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Paul Mortimer




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PostPosted: Sat 28 May, 2011 2:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall you are right, there is no evidence for butted mail from Sutton Hoo, or for anywhere else in England for that matter, from this period; 5th to 7th centuries.

The thought that it may be butted came from Sir James Mann in 1957, who visually examined some of amalgamated sections of mail and could see very little, apart from the the shape of some rings and concluded, therefore, that the rings must be butted.

However, in June 1969 the mails was re-examined using stereo radiography and the copper rivets clearly were present. The radiography was carried out by W. A. Oddy and A. E. A. Werner. Some of the rivets were tested and found to contain not just copper but minute quantities of silver and lead.

I think that it is unlikely that a coat with copper rivets would be significantly weaker than one with iron rivets; it would be interesting to carry out the experiment, though.



Paul
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 28 May, 2011 6:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't remember if the Knight and the Blast Furnace talks specifically about the Sutton Hoo mail, but several migration era fragments were described in it as having repairs done with copper. Even whole copper links appeared to have been used for at least a couple of repairs, not in nice geometric patterns that would suggest ornamental use of contrasting materials.
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Philip Melhop




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PostPosted: Mon 30 May, 2011 8:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Was at the British Museum on Friday and had a close look at the Sutton Hoo mail exhibit. The description states that it is made from alternating rows of riveted links(yes I know, it doesn't say how the alternate rows are constructed)The X-ray photo is reproduced alongside the remnants of the mail and there are several rivets highlighted as "copper". There is no mention of butted links anywhere in the display, or amongst any of the other mail exhibits.
Phil
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Photos please?

I've seen one example of a roman iron age maille that could be mistaken for butted, though the site/find name escapes me right now. I'll look it up. The fragments that were left of that maille had alternating riveted and solid rings moslty , but at least some of them have an oddly open seam.
One theory is these open "butted" rings are mendings, you can see these open rings sometimes repace the riveted ones and sometimes the solid ones which would support the theory of them being put in at a later date and not original to the weave. Another theory would be that all the solid rings are made from thick wire, then soldered together, then the heat from the burial fire melted the soldering material off some rings leaving the gaps seen today.

Regardless, with only a cursory examination something like this could be mistaken for a full butted maille in a way that would fit the faulty description of the Sutton Hoo maille.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge


Last edited by Johan Gemvik on Wed 01 Jun, 2011 11:24 am; edited 5 times in total
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 10:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The maille I was referring to is the Carlingwark Loch maille, from Scotland.
Punched from plate soldis with their typical flat faces (1*) are clearly seen in the weave, so are the round ring riveted links (2*). Then there are these "fake solids" (3*) with a thick uniform round wire cross section and straight butted seam. Also visible just after the left hand fake solid is a turning of the weave, something I'd class as a fault in the weave but could be inentional for some unknown purpose.
I'll have to reproduce these also someday, a very interesting variant.
I've seen the same type of ring in places in the Kungslena maille (end of 13th century Sweden), perhaps this is simply the best way to mend or re-build a maille if you don't have the tools or skillset to rivet rings. Straight cut ends meeting would likely snag less than the common modern diagonal cut rings and be less visible.




"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Ahmad Tabari





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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 11:57 am    Post subject: Carlingwark mail         Reply with quote

From the look of these "fake solids" it seems to me that they were most likely field replacements. Whoever was wearing that mail does not seem to have returned to his main camp or else these rings would have been riveted or welded shut.
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Chuck Russell




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 3:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

looks to me like 19thc museum fixes. i mean who puts out a hole"y" shirt for display? Wink
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W. Knight




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Sep, 2011 5:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

After researching the Sutton Hoo mail, I know it is impossible to unfold what remains of it because it is so badly corroded, but based on evidence from the weight of it, or perhaps some other means, is it possible to know whether it is a hauberk (long-sleeved) or a haubergeon (short-sleeved). Most re-enactors for this period seem to favor the short-sleeved variety, but I have seen numerous illustrations that show long-sleeved mail.

So is anyone aware what the current state of knowledge is about the sleeve length on the Sutton Hoo mail shirt, and why?

Thanks so much to anyone with info. I have some books on the general subject, but other than the subject of the riveted construction and composition of the links and rivets (which this thread seems to definitively answer), I have not come across any info on the exact size of the shirt. Confused
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William P




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Sep, 2011 5:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

out of curiosity would this sutton hoo maile be the type the regia anglorum 'tested' in that BBC program secrets of the vikings? they mention 3 types and the riveted/ solid they said was one based off an actual find. would that find be the sutton? or the gjermundbu maile?

ive been meaning to email the group directly to ask them for more specifics regarding that test.
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