Dundee Museum – the mcmanus

You will find this museum behind “oor Wullie” and opposite the Wetherspoons. The museum has one of the very few examples of armour and leather (lorica squamata) in Western Europe. It was found at Carpow Fort near Abernethy.

Scale Armour (lorica squamata) AD 208-211

Carpow legionary fortress. Found in a pit in the praetentura, the forward area of the fort.

Museum number 1987-184-1-2

At first glance, the importance of these fragments is not obvious. They represent the best-preserved scale armour or lorica squamata from Western Roman Europe.

It is extremely rare to find the leather and textiles still intact. Usually finds only consist of individual scales. This lorica was deliberately deposited when Carpow was abandoned and might have been awaiting repair. The leather laces were unravelling and some of the binding had become detached even before the armour was placed in the pit.

The shirt would have been made by the army and travelled with it. Scale armour is one of the oldest styles of protective equipment. It was widely used by the Roman military in both the infantry and cavalry over a long period of time. It was flexible and allowed movement while providing good protection. It was also easy to repair – a broken scale could quickly be replaced.

Click on the image to see the photos

Source: the mcmanus | Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum

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