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Rare Roman Armor Unearthed in Bulgaria

Monday, December 2, 2019

DEBELT, BULGARIA—Archaeology in Bulgaria reports that some 6,000 pieces of chain mail dating to sometime between the fourth and sixth centuries A.D. have been unearthed in the ancient Roman colony of Deultum, which is located near the Black Sea coast in southeastern Bulgaria. The armor, which includes two well-preserved sleeves, was found inside the colony’s fortress, against its north wall. Fragments of wood suggest the armor was stored in wooden chests. When the north wall collapsed during a fire, the armor, made up of rectangular slabs of wrought iron attached to leather garments, was crushed. So far, analysis of the artifacts suggests the armor had been made by two or three different craftsmen. Conservation of the rare artifacts will be challenging. “This requires an incredible amount of work because every single slab has to be extracted, any corrosion needs to be cleaned up, and then the slab needs to be restored and placed on leather, the way it used to be,” explained Krasimira Kostova of the Deultum-Debelt Archaeological Preserve. Bronze coins, pins, and the bones of large guard dogs were also recovered from the fortress. For more on Roman chain mail, go to "World Roundup: Germany."

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