What was it like?

  • In the ship burial at Sutton Hoo, the dead person had a big shield leaning up against the wall at the head of the burial chamber.
    • It had a diameter of 91½ cm. It was curved like the glass in a watch.
    • It was made of limewood and covered in hide (animal skin), but not much of this survived.
    • The edge had a gold covered bronze binding. It was held in place by clips made of the same metals.
    • All round the surface of the shield were gold covered bronze dragon heads with garnets for eyes; and small decorated foil panels.
    • In the centre was a huge iron boss. It was decorated with bronze animals with garnet eyes and cloisonné work (gold inlaid with red jewels). Similar shield bosses have been found in Sweden.
    • Either side were smaller bosses and two decorative animals. One is a beautiful bronze dragon. The other is a bronze and gold foil bird-of-prey (See Pictures). They are similar to examples found in Sweden.
    • There was an iron hand-grip at the back. This is where you held the shield.


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