Thursday, November 8, 2018

Gimli of Grimisuat?

For some reason this Sion Beaker just wants to have a beard.  Maybe that's because of how the amber beads are situated across the upper chest. 

The helmet appears to be an early form of the common nasal helmet of Western Europe which is at least as old as the Late Bronze Age.  My guess is that it would have been constructed of boiled leather over a wooden frame, the kevlar of its day.  The guy's dress is commonly thought to be a patterned tunic, but I wonder if it is instead scaled armour, also of hardened leather.  Someone's probably mentioned that before, but I can't think who off hand.

One of the interesting things about Bell Beaker men with dagger injuries, they are most often found in the armpits and forearms, at least in Britain.  As demonstrated in the video linked above, in a knife fight you have to get under the scale which indicates how the knife is held and thrust.  But it should be remembered that body thrust wounds may be under-represented in the skeletal record.

Doctored Late Sion Stele by Sebastian Favre, right (Bocksberger Memorial Site)

I'm pretty sure those are amber beads around the guy's neck.  I don't know if this Gimli was a lord or a war king, but he was important no doubt.

One interesting bit is the changing pattern from chest, the apron, then lower portion.  It can't be a single tunic, or at least it wouldn't seem so.  I'd propose that there are two layers of scale, the outermost covering the torso, and then the actual tunic is the bottom-most pattern.  Maybe you see something else?


  1. I've been thinking about those nasal helmets since this was posted. They were used throughout Europe, so they must have been useful, but for the life of me I can't figure the benefit of them until the later ones shown on the Wikipedia page. An American football helmet has a solid faceguard, and is held on the head with a chinstrap. That makes sense - a cross blow can't get through it because it has support on either side of the face, and the strap keeps the helmet snug on the skull. A sword or club across the nasal piece of those old helmets would cause the helmet to slip, and it would be driven into the nose. Again, they did use them, so they must have had some benefit, but I can't see it.

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    2. Sorry about the delay in comment approval. I'm adjusting my spam settings today.

      I viewed some commentary about the nasal helmets of the Middle Ages. Several points I found interesting is that even after the development of the full helm, archers continued to utilize the nasal style helmet for better visibility. Also, these helmets were often used over worn mail or an attachable mail to the sides of the helmet. So it could also be that the 'beard' I imagine above is instead some kind face protection.

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