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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
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PostPosted: Tue 01 Nov, 2016 12:24 pm    Post subject: Danish archaeologist doing experimental Viking martial arts.         Reply with quote

Just wanted to give a heads up to this article of Danish archaeologist Rolf Warming conducting experiments on viking shield use (video included).

It is very nice though to see the general archaeological community catching up and being open for this kind of research (instead of being more fringe), though the way the articles claims that he has "discovered something new" on how the vikings used their shields is hardly the case. Not really news to many of us here especially those watching Roland Warzecha's experimentation and he gave an open lecture at Moesgård Museum in Denmark already in 2010.

Source (English): http://sciencenordic.com/archaeologist-discov...ing-combat
Danish article: http://videnskab.dk/kultur-samfund/arkaeolog-...svaerdkamp
Youtube channel of "combat archaeology": https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeb_u1CAlljR2bpfR2JB-7g
Youtube channel of Roland Warzecha: https://www.youtube.com/user/warzechas/feed
Moesgård Museum lecture by Roland Warzecha: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkhpqAGdZPc
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Nov, 2016 7:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

These are all some pretty good videos. I can't believe they're using a sharp Albion. But, I guess they wanted it as historically realistic as possible. Check out the flex in that blade when it hits the shield edge!!...........McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Nov, 2016 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Moore wrote:
These are all some pretty good videos. I can't believe they're using a sharp Albion. But, I guess they wanted it as historically realistic as possible. Check out the flex in that blade when it hits the shield edge!!...........McM


Yes they wanted it as realistic as possible, hence the protective gear.
The blade flexing is really impressive. It also highlights the point that unless you had a superior sword (like an Ulfberht) there would be a huge risk that an attack that hit the rim of the opponents shield would case the sword to break of it was of inferior quality.
Viking swords (and actually also Ulfberhts) were of very varying quality, but often you wouldn't know before you had tested the swords. So it would seem reasonable that offensively you would really avoid hitting the rim of the opponents shield.

The shield used in the experiment seems to be a fairly thick "combat shield".
For duels light and thin un-reenforced shields were apparently sometimes used, where the sword could go deeply into them and perhaps act as a sword catcher. It is important to state though that each place likely had its own traditional rules for duels that also could vary through time.
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Nov, 2016 9:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

what?

Quote:
Archaeologists have struggled to explain the dents in shield bosses like this one


Am I the only one who finds that hard to understand? Its a shield boss. Its highly likely to be subjected to combat trauma of a variety of types. Why the struggle?

What was the shield made of?

Whats the evidence for sewn on rawhide around the edge?

Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Nov, 2016 10:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Griffin wrote:
what?

Quote:
Archaeologists have struggled to explain the dents in shield bosses like this one


Am I the only one who finds that hard to understand? Its a shield boss. Its highly likely to be subjected to combat trauma of a variety of types. Why the struggle?

What was the shield made of?

Whats the evidence for sewn on rawhide around the edge?


Yeah the article quote is fairly out there and it is perplexing if archaeologists should have a hard time explaining that?!
The shield was made of "planks of spruce wood" (0.23 min. into the video).
As far as I know we have no evidence of sewn on rawhide on the edges. It is a guess based on the Gokstad-ship-burial shields having small holes at the edges.
See Hurstwic's page: http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manu...hields.htm

Furthermore some extensive damage to shield bosses could also have been done outside combat.
Like destruction of the enemy's weapons as seen in the Iron Age bog burials or a ritualistic destruction in a burial context.
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Mark Moore




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PostPosted: Wed 02 Nov, 2016 11:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That particular dent in the boss doesn't really resemble a sword blow. More likely from a club or an axe. Could have been stomped by a horse. Eek! .......McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Nov, 2016 7:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Moore wrote:
That particular dent in the boss doesn't really resemble a sword blow. More likely from a club or an axe. Could have been stomped by a horse. Eek! .......McM


Yeah it is important to remember that these deep dents can have been on a prone shield as part of the ritualistic destruction of the shield, as well as being a big blow to the shield boss in combat.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Nov, 2016 12:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Griffin wrote:
what?

Quote:
Archaeologists have struggled to explain the dents in shield bosses like this one


Am I the only one who finds that hard to understand? Its a shield boss. Its highly likely to be subjected to combat trauma of a variety of types. Why the struggle?

What was the shield made of?

Whats the evidence for sewn on rawhide around the edge?


To be fair, things often get 'lost in translation' when academics try to communicate with the public. Nevertheless that quote has all the makings of a good 'farside' cartoon. Or how about this one:

"During a spirited bout of reenactment, experimental archeologists finally explain dents in ancient skulls'.

On a more serious note, check out the period reference to iron-bound Norwegian shields in the parallel thread on Gerard of Wales.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Nov, 2016 1:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
Mark Griffin wrote:
what?

Quote:
Archaeologists have struggled to explain the dents in shield bosses like this one


Am I the only one who finds that hard to understand? Its a shield boss. Its highly likely to be subjected to combat trauma of a variety of types. Why the struggle?

What was the shield made of?

Whats the evidence for sewn on rawhide around the edge?


To be fair, things often get 'lost in translation' when academics try to communicate with the public. Nevertheless that quote has all the makings of a good 'farside' cartoon. Or how about this one:

"During a spirited bout of reenactment, experimental archeologists finally explain dents in ancient skulls'.

On a more serious note, check out the period reference to iron-bound Norwegian shields in the parallel thread on Gerard of Wales.


Agree - many journalists wants to make every thing spectacular, so their piece is printed. That example is also hilarious - really dents in skulls were from weapons Surprised

Sometimes also you can have bad translations from scientific journalists, that are quite amusing.
A personal favourite:
Danish translation (but where the english original is not given): "Når Neanderthalerne fandt et ådsel de kunne feste".
Translation back to English shows the hilarious error = "When the Neanderthals found a carcass they could party on". So you have this lovely image of Neanderthals dancing and socializing on top (and slowly sinking into) the carcass!
Could be a really engrossing mammoth party!
English original likely was: "When the Neanderthals found a carcass they could feast upon".

Thanks - forgot to discuss it when replying at the other thread Laughing Out Loud

While rawhide still seems speculative, metal rims seems certain (though this Gerard of Wales chronicle is a fairly late 1170's chronicle).
But we don't have any shields (I think) with complete metal rims -> those metal rims present could perhaps be seen as repairs covering only damaged edges of the shields.
Yet, why wouldn't you cover the whole shields rim with iron? If you had strong arms - likely you will have that if you row all day in a longship - what is the problem?
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Bjorn Hagstrom




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Nov, 2016 4:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:

Yet, why wouldn't you cover the whole shields rim with iron? If you had strong arms - likely you will have that if you row all day in a longship - what is the problem?


Aside from weight and price, a speculation I would have is that an iron rim cold cause axe and swordblades to glance in unpredictable paths, quite close to your face. I would very much rather that the edges bites into the shield a bit..

There is nothing quite as sad as a one man conga-line...
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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Nov, 2016 5:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bjorn Hagstrom wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:

Yet, why wouldn't you cover the whole shields rim with iron? If you had strong arms - likely you will have that if you row all day in a longship - what is the problem?


Aside from weight and price, a speculation I would have is that an iron rim cold cause axe and swordblades to glance in unpredictable paths, quite close to your face. I would very much rather that the edges bites into the shield a bit..


Good point.
In the experiment conducted even without metal rims, the sword blade still bounced at some occasions and glanced the defenders head.
Yet having no reenforced shield rim will reduce the life time of the shield; so its really a trade off that every warrior had to consider.
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Nov, 2016 11:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Yet, why wouldn't you cover the whole shields rim with iron? If you had strong arms - likely you will have that if you row all day in a longship - what is the problem?


Well, if the shield is already found solid enough, you might want to make it as light as possible anyway. If you're stronger you'll just move it faster, which is obviously a good thing.

The wood would probably get damaged anyway with thrusts and tips hitting the face of it. Quite possibly an iron rim adds a lot of weight for only a little bit more durability... Which is not a good trade-off perhaps.

Regards,

--
Vincent
Ensis Sub Caelo
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Nov, 2016 12:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Yet, why wouldn't you cover the whole shields rim with iron? If you had strong arms - likely you will have that if you row all day in a longship - what is the problem?


Well, if the shield is already found solid enough, you might want to make it as light as possible anyway. If you're stronger you'll just move it faster, which is obviously a good thing.

The wood would probably get damaged anyway with thrusts and tips hitting the face of it. Quite possibly an iron rim adds a lot of weight for only a little bit more durability... Which is not a good trade-off perhaps.

Regards,


Sounds very reasonable; so shield found with iron rims could perhaps be training shields or perhaps parade shield where the metal could gleam and make for a more impressive display?
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