Anglo-Saxons 5: used by a warrior
This small round piece of rusty iron was once the middle of an Anglo-Saxon warrior’s shield. It's called a shield boss and it held the large wooden shield together.
Can you spot the shield boss in the middle of this replica Anglo-Saxon shield? A replica is a modern copy.
Its rounded shape also deflected blows from enemy swords or battle axes away from the hand holding the shield, which was protected behind it.
This shield boss was found with the skeleton of an Anglo-Saxon warrior in the Dover Hill Anglo-Saxon cemetery.
The painted wooden shield it was part of, has long since rotted away (eaten by minibeasts and micro-organisms), leaving just a rusty shield boss as evidence it was once there.
Anglo-Saxon warriors stood in a defensive line and overlapped their shields in battle. This was known as the Shield Wall.
They also used shields as weapons - thrusting them forward to hit and unbalance the enemy.