Tyne and Wear HER(4673): South Shields Roman Fort, Ring Mail Shirt - Details
South Shields Roman Fort, Ring Mail Shirt
Armour and Weapons
A complete ring mail shirt was found during excavations of barrack II at Arbeia Roman Fort in 1997. The barrack was constructed in the early 3rd century A.D. and destroyed by fire in the late 3rd century A.D. or early 4th century A.D.. The shirt was found in a thick layer of burnt daub from the collapsed walls of the barrack, in a lobby area containing a hearth in front of the doors leading to the residential area. The shirt had been sealed between layers of hot dry daub and thus survived in very good condition. The suite of rooms in which the shirt was found was possibly junior officers' accomodation. The shirt was of standard Roman construction, with four links looped on to one, with alternate lines of riveted and solid links. The wire used was 1-1.8 metres in diameter. Few complete Roman mail shirts have been recovered from Britain (a shirt has been found at Wallsend and another at Housesteads). After conservation the shirt weighed 5.440kg.
<< HER 4673 >> A.T. Croom, 2001, A Ring Mail Shirt from South Shields Roman Fort, The Arbeia Journal, Vol 6-7, 1997-98 (2001), p 55-60; Alexandra Croom, 2003, Finds spot: the last 50 years, Arbeia Magazine, No. 27, 2003, p 9