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Zach Gordon




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PostPosted: Mon 16 Mar, 2009 11:15 am    Post subject: Historical Butted Maille         Reply with quote

Hi
I was wondering if butted maille was ever used in any time period? Like the stuff you see for sale for like $100.
I was watching a show on The History Channel and one of the guys was saying early Romman maille was butted, I was wondering if this wuz true and if not was butted maille ever used in any century?
Thanx
Z
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Ben C.





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PostPosted: Mon 16 Mar, 2009 12:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Historical Butted Maille         Reply with quote

Zach Gordon wrote:
Hi
I was wondering if butted maille was ever used in any time period? Like the stuff you see for sale for like $100.
I was watching a show on The History Channel and one of the guys was saying early Romman maille was butted, I was wondering if this wuz true and if not was butted maille ever used in any century?
Thanx
Z


The only historical use of butted mail I know of personally was by the Japanese from around the 14th to 16th centuries. Although they appear to have had a fair amount of European influence (especially with the 16th century 4-in-1 pattern mail) they didn't seem to adapt riveting. However Japanese mail was primarily only used as a secondary defence so there probably wasn't quite the need to develop the strength that European mail had.
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Bill Tsafa




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PostPosted: Mon 16 Mar, 2009 6:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have seen some modern butted mail that is hard as nails and would stop any sword thrust. It is not thin and flattened but round and thick. It is a lot heavier then the flattened ones. I would expect that any period butted mail would have to make the same compromise.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2009 5:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think there is one Roman-era piece of mail (Kirkburn??) that is said to have butted rings, maybe alternating rows of butted and solid. But a lot of us want to see more micro-analysis of that, since other bits of "butted" Roman mail have turned out to be the usual half solid/half riveted when X-rayed. I don't think there is any evidence that *early* Roman mail was butted. Sounds like the History Channel got it wrong again, unfortunately.

Vale,

Matthew
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Douglas S





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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2009 12:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aventails in later period helmets from the mideast tend to use butted mail, but the links are very small and they are probably not expected to carry much duty. That's all I know of for sure. Everything else is riveted.
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C. Gadda





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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2009 1:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
I think there is one Roman-era piece of mail (Kirkburn??) that is said to have butted rings, maybe alternating rows of butted and solid. But a lot of us want to see more micro-analysis of that, since other bits of "butted" Roman mail have turned out to be the usual half solid/half riveted when X-rayed. I don't think there is any evidence that *early* Roman mail was butted. Sounds like the History Channel got it wrong again, unfortunately.

Vale,

Matthew


Kirkburn as being of butted construction is refuted - the shirt actually has copper alloy rivets that showed up quite brightly under x-ray analysis (see Gilmour Mail in Iron Age Britain in Royal Armouries Yearbook, Vol. 2. 1997). I suspect ALL alleged European "examples of butted mail" (with the exception of field repairs) from before the sixteenth or seventeenth century will invariably be shown to be of riveted or riveted/solid construction when archaeologists finally discover what an x-ray machine is and how to use it with regards to the artefact in question. Not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen, however...
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2009 5:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah, excellent, thank you! Pretty sure that was the one I was thinking of, but I'll have to dig around through the Roman Army Talk board to see if there are any other supposedly butted bits. That's the best place for information on Roman stuff in any case:

http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/

Valete,

Matthew
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Shane Allee
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2009 9:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew,

I think that Steven is going to be getting you a list of some of the other butted mail that we know about. Even without the kirkburn there is still at least a couple of other British butted finds. I've found a few fragments here and there on the continent as well for the La Tene period that is butted. One I remember as being small diameter rings that looked to be an 8 in 1 pattern. My guess was that it was probably a doubler since a full shirt would have been pretty heavy, never know though. Next time I'm going through binders it is one of the things that I'm keeping an eye out for and will send Steven's way.

Shane
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Mar, 2009 1:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All the finds of early mail were initially reported to have been butted. Those which have undergone further analysis (e.g. Kirkburn) have turned out to be riveted. Those which have not (e.g. Cuimesti) are still reputed to be butted though I would bet money on all of them turning out to be riveted when analysed further. There is not a single example of Roman mail that has been confirmed as butted after radiographical analysis.
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Adam Rudling




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Mar, 2009 4:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Re the Kirkburn shirt , what are the references / who did the x-rays etc .... just need to know to correct my group leader who still goes by the original report.
One day archeologists maybe able to work without guessing / refering to old ideas & theories eh !
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Nathan Beal





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PostPosted: Wed 18 Mar, 2009 10:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adam Rudling wrote:
Re the Kirkburn shirt , what are the references / who did the x-rays etc .... just need to know to correct my group leader who still goes by the original report.
One day archeologists maybe able to work without guessing / refering to old ideas & theories eh !


Hey Adam, how you keeping.

Contact the Library at the RA for details, library@armouries.org.uk (they have been kind enough to send out copies of articles n the past), as 'C Gadda' said it's in Royal Armouries Yearbook, Vol. 2. 1997. The article is Mail in Iron Age Britain, by Gilmour.

I have a copy but it's still in Sheffield (not doing me a lot of good right now) and will be till i get the visa sorted properly

N.

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C. Gadda





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PostPosted: Wed 18 Mar, 2009 10:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adam Rudling wrote:
Re the Kirkburn shirt , what are the references / who did the x-rays etc .... just need to know to correct my group leader who still goes by the original report.
One day archeologists maybe able to work without guessing / refering to old ideas & theories eh !


Here is the quote from p. 32 of the Yearbook: "Examination of the X-ray images of this [the Kirkburn] mail shirt leave no doubt that at least half of the rings were riveted (T. Richardson 1998 personal communication). Also the rivets stand out very brightly on X-ray, possibly suggesting that they might be of copper alloy. The rest of the rings are presumably of solid construction."

The whole article is well worth reading. Again, I very much doubt that any maille intended for actual combat will consist of anything other than riveted or riveted and solid construction. At least I have seen no evidence at all for such, and I've pulled together quite a few references for the catalog of maille finds I am putting together.

As for archaeologists using scientifically proven facts rather than hand-wavy guesses, call me cynical but I doubt it will ever happen...

[EDIT: 2nd para. was re-worded to state what I intended to state, rather than the total opposite...]


Last edited by C. Gadda on Thu 19 Mar, 2009 11:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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Nat Lamb




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Mar, 2009 5:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Red Herring Warning.
Someone posted an image of maille that included butted rings on this very site, can't for the life of me find the thread now. Of course the butted rings were brass, decorative, and absolutely seccondary to the rest of the rivited avantail they were atached to.
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C. Gadda





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PostPosted: Thu 19 Mar, 2009 9:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nat Lamb wrote:
Red Herring Warning.
Someone posted an image of maille that included butted rings on this very site, can't for the life of me find the thread now. Of course the butted rings were brass, decorative, and absolutely seccondary to the rest of the rivited avantail they were atached to.


I should amend my previous posts to add that, on occasion, purely *decorative* elements of an armour, such as the aventail you mention, might be butted. Or they might riveted - this sort of detail varied. For example, the Sinigaglia haubergeon had its decorative trim of alternating punched and riveted rings. I think the Hearst haubergeon had all riveted rings for its trim, but I'd need to double check that.

In addition to your aventail, there is at least one other maille artefact I chanced across in my research that had butted decorative rings, but I cannot recall exactly what it was, or where and when it was from. I'll dig around in my notes and see if I can find it.
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Douglas S





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PostPosted: Thu 19 Mar, 2009 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am afraid that this discussion may be grounded in "justification", rather than experimental archaeology.
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Carl Goff




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Mar, 2009 5:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vassilis Tsafatinos wrote:
I have seen some modern butted mail that is hard as nails and would stop any sword thrust. It is not thin and flattened but round and thick. It is a lot heavier then the flattened ones. I would expect that any period butted mail would have to make the same compromise.


Yup. To get decent protection out of modern butted mail, you have to go with at least 14 gauge steel, and an extremely small inner diameter on the links. (Myself, I favor 1/4" inner diameter.) Makes for an EXTREMELY heavy shirt.

The main (okay, only) point in favor of butted mail is that it's easier and quicker to repair than riveted mail. All it takes is two sets of pliers. This is pure speculation, but I can easily envision warriors carrying around some already-prepared butted links and the necessary tools in order to do "field expedient" repairs on a riveted shirt until they could get it back to a smith.

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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 5:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
As for archaeologists using scientifically proven facts rather than hand-wavy guesses, call me cynical but I doubt it will ever happen...


Isn't Archeology a scientific pursuit?

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 8:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
Quote:
As for archaeologists using scientifically proven facts rather than hand-wavy guesses, call me cynical but I doubt it will ever happen...


Isn't Archeology a scientific pursuit?


It is, but archaeologists aren't always in touch with the newest research in other fields. Unfortunately, the same fault can be attributed to academics in those other fields as well....

So, while the opinion about archaeologists just making hand-way guesses is probably quite hyperbolic, it's true that archaeologists have been known for making some rather funny guesses when they can't entirely figure out the purpose of this artifact or that. If you look hard enough, you probably have a friend who's an amateur archaeologist; ask him/her about the meaning of "ceremonial object" if you want to hear a good archaeological in-joke.
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C. Gadda





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PostPosted: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 9:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
Quote:
As for archaeologists using scientifically proven facts rather than hand-wavy guesses, call me cynical but I doubt it will ever happen...


Isn't Archeology a scientific pursuit?

M.


Well, in theory, yes. Practice is something else altogether.

This thread is an excellent example of my point. When Ian Stead published Iron Age Cemeteries in East Yorkshire he simply did a quick visual examination with no x-ray analysis. But rather than state just that, he proclaimed to all the world that the rings were butted, without any scientific evidence to back it up. And now, here we are, having to undo all the damage caused by his hand-wavy, unsubstantiated guesses.

A similar, but even worse, situation underlies the Sutton Hoo hauberk. Here again some twit announced to all and sundry that the rings were butted, and that has been repeated as fact in a host of publications relating to arms and armour ever since, to this day even. Once again, proper x-ray analysis showed this to be false, as Bruce Mitford states in Sutton Hoo Vol II Arms, Armour, and Regalia. Too late, as it turns out, for the damage is already done, and now I'll run into folks who solemnly inform me that butted maille was the norm, and riveted maille was merely a status symbol for the wealthy (no, I'm not joking, this actually happened once. I was too flabbergasted to even respond, and didn't want to embarass the chap publically in any event)

I think the root of the problem is that archaeologists are trained in cataloguing artefacts into neat little categories, portioned and canned, with absolutely no instruction in how these artefacts came to be in the first place, nor any intelligent research into their proper functions. Were it up to me, I'd mandate that in order to graduate would be archaeologists have to learn first hand how to make period artefacts using tools and techniques of that time, and learn how to use them properly. This would go a long ways, I feel, to preventing the nonsense that prevails today.
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 1:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maybe I should give archeology another look at for a career choice; even I've got more common sense than what they're apparently doing.

M.

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