Full image caption
Small circular iron shield with a boss in the centre. The half side of the shield - shown here on the right, shows signs of corrosion the left side has been conserved. The back of the shield has a wood handle which was found intact. A buckler was a small shield used in hand-to-hand fighting. The user held the buckler in one hand and his sword in the other. He could ward off blows with the buckler and use its heavy iron boss to punch his opponent. The buckler was used by lightly-armed foot soldiers in battle (the English archers at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 carried bucklers), but also in the combat sport of 'sword and buckler' fencing. Bucklers were common in the early 1300s and still in use in the late 1500s. This one, from the late 1300s, is one of the earliest surviving examples.
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