Tuesday, February 20, 2018


ROMAN boxing gloves have been discovered near Hadrian’s Wall, thought to be the only known surviving examples, even though the sport was well- documented on Roman wall paintings, mosaics and sculptures.

With a protective guard designed to fit snugly over the knuckles, the gloves were packed with natural material which acted as shock absorbers.

They date from around 120 AD and were certainly made to last: they still fit comfortably on a modern hand. One of them even retains the impression of the knuckles of its ancient wearer.

They are among the latest discoveries at a pre-Hadrianic Roman cavalry barrack, which was found last year beneath the fourth-century stone fort of Vindolanda, south of Hadrian’s Wall near Hexham, Northumberland.

Dr Andrew Birley, the Vindolanda Trust’s director of excavations, said: “The hairs stand up on the back of your neck when you realise that you have discovered something as astonishing as these boxing gloves.”

Archaeologists stumbled across the site by chance and were taken aback by extraordinary military and personal possessions left behind by the men and their families some 2,000 years ago. Other finds include complete swords, which are exceptionally rare, even across the north-west provinces of the Roman empire.

The finds are in a remarkable state of preservation because they were concealed beneath a concrete floor laid by the Romans about 30 years after the barracks was abandoned, shortly before 120. Oxygen-free conditions prevented materials such as wood and leather from decaying.

1 comment:

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