A highly polished early 16th-century Welsh buckler shield.

Investigating a 16th-century Welsh buckler

The question

Centuries of cleaning had left this small shield in a highly polished state. Could XRF provide clues to its original appearance?

Results of analysis

XRF analysis was used to examine many parts of the surface. The raised rings were shown to have originally been tinned, whilst the backing was found to be painted with a (red) lead based compound. The brass rivet heads, despite being of two different shapes, were all of low zinc brass, consistent with the date of the shield.

Significance

Analysis helped show that the buckler’s original appearance would have been significantly different from what is seen today, with alternate bands of bright tin and deep red paint.

Outcome

This work not only enabled us to record a more accurate description of the object, but the results have also been used in a number of presentations as an example of everyday analytical investigations of objects in the Science Lab.

Did you know?

American gifts re-open Japan in 1853

15 rifles, 3 muskets, 12 cavalry swords, 20 army pistols, 2 carbines, 2 telegraph instruments, a model steam locomotive and tender, 4 volumes of John James Audubon’s ‘Birds of America’, and 1 barrel of whiskey for the Emperor and much more!