Historical knowledge

Leaping ritual dancers?

In Swedish rock carvings we see the shields being used in religious rites. Although shields are normally regarded as part of weaponry, there is no doubt that the rock carvings show that shields are being used in a ritual context. On the ship in the rock carving in Hede, for example, we see two men holding a shield and almost dancing with it. Alongside the shield-bearers we see acrobatic dancers. Perhaps the shields were used as sun symbols?

Experiments with Bronze Age shields

The shields from the Bronze Age were made of very thin bronze sheet. Experiments with copies of this type of shield have shown that they are completely useless in battle. A bronze point can easily pierce the metal and if the shield is struck by a blow from a bronze sword it is split almost in two. This suggests that the shields were used exclusively in connection with rituals.

Share this page