Battersea Shield

The Battersea Shield is one of the most significant pieces of ancient Celtic military equipment found in Britain. It is a sheet bronze covering of a (now vanished) wooden shield decorated in La Tène style.
The Battersea Shield is one of the most significant pieces of ancient Celtic military equipment found in Britain. It is a sheet bronze covering of a (now vanished) wooden shield decorated in La Tène style.

The Battersea Shield probably dates from a hundred years on either side of the birth of Christ, though an earlier date is possible, and dates from as early as 350 BC have been suggested by archaeologists/historians. It was dredged from the bed of the River Thames in London in 1857, during excavations for the predecessor of Chelsea Bridge; in the same area workers found large quantities of Roman and Celtic weapons and skeletons in the riverbed, leading many historians to conclude that the area was the site of Gaius Julius Caesar’s crossing of the Thames during the 54 BC invasion of Britain.

The shield is decorated with repoussé decoration and enamel. The decoration is in the typically Celtic La Tène style, consisting of circles and spirals. As a purely decorative piece, it would not have been an effective shield in combat. As it shows no signs of battle damage, it is believed that the shield was cast into the river as a votive offering.

See Witham Shield.

Curator: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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