This site is dedicated to a very particular hobby... reconstructing Roman Legionary equipment for the Second Augustan Legion's advance into the ancient British Westcountry.

It involves a great deal of travel, study, handwork and occaisonal fun!!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

A Shield Cover

Here is an old reconstruction I put together about five years ago, I will be making a new batch once we have changed our shield pattern to match the Caerleon find.

Whilst fragments of the original boards may have perished, there are by contrast a reasonable number of leather shield covers (tegimenta) that have been recovered from archaeological covers. These covers were designed to prevent the shield being soaked when outdoors, and thereby reducing its effectiveness and increasing its weight. Most forms of modern plywood are unsuited to exterior use, the effect of damp on similar material in an age of non polymer glues may well have been much greater.

These covers were manufactured from vegetable tanned goatskin, and survive fairly well in waterlogged anaerobic conditions, such as ditches and pits below the water table. The majority of published examples are from Germany, Great Britain, Holland and Switzerland, and typically date to the first and second centuries AD. In certain instances, the cover fragments have survived well enough to give an indication of the dimensions of the underlying board. Unfortunately, many covers lack unit inscriptions and we are forced to guess which unit might have had ownership of such equipment.

This reconstruction is a hybrid of different evidence, using the Dura Europos shield dimensions as a form, with the motifs and stitching techniques copied from finds in Roomburg (NL) and Windisch (CHE)