What did Anglo-Saxon armour and weapons look like?

SUTTON HOO HELMET: This helmet was found in the ship-grave at Sutton Hoo. Can you see the two dragon's heads nose-to-nose at the front?


From the little pieces it is possible to see what the whole helmet might have looked like:

reconstructed helmet
Reconstructed helmet.

Here is what a shield probably looked like:


Only the 'boss' (the middle part) and some of the metal deocorations have survived.


This is the dragon from the left-hand side of the shield:


This is a bird of prey. You can see it on the right-hand side of the shield.

bird of prey

The wooden part of the shield has rotted away. The shields described in Beowulf are made from the wood of the linden tree (or lime tree, as it is often called).

This sword was found in Germany: The blade is covered by a sheath decorated with with gold.


Anglo-Saxon swords were often decorated with complicated patterns like these:

decorated sword

A mailcoat or mail-shirt:


A mailcoat or mail-shirt was to protect the warrior's body. It was made out of tiny metal rings linked together very tightly so the point of the sword or spear could not easily go through it. The spearheads looked like this:

spear heads

A mailcoat was not stiff and heavy like the suits of armour knights wore later in history. So the warrior could move easily when fighting on foot.

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