Mail shirt with inscription, made in India or Iran in 1816-17 (source).
The shirt is made primarily of steel rings with an inscription interwoven in brass and copper rings. It includes the “Prayer to Ali” which was often used in times of danger. The shirt is therefore designed to provide spiritual as well as physical protection. - from the Met description
7th Century helmet found in Sweden.
The Dura Europos shield, a painted mid 3rd century AD Roman scutum found in Syria. The shield could have possibly belonged to member of the XVI Flavia or IV Sythica legions.
Photo copyright of Yale University
This wing-shaped shield and others like it in the Metropolitan Museum’s collection (42.50.29, .30), with the distinctive upward-sweeping back edge, were the characteristic light-cavalry shields of Hungary. During the sixteenth century, the style was adopted across much of eastern Europe by both Christian and Islamic horsemen. The shield’s elongated upper edge was designed to defend the back of the head and neck against cuts from a saber, the preferred cavalry weapon in that region.
This shield is painted on its exterior with the double-bladed sword of the prophet Muhammad and on its interior with the Crucifix and instruments of the Passion. This unusual mix of Islamic and Christian symbols suggests that the shield was used in a tournament by a Christian warrior dressed in Muslim fashion. In these “Hungarian style” tournaments, the participants wore Hungarian and Turkish costumes and used sabers to strike off feathers attached to their opponents’ helmets and to the apex of their painted shields. Even at a time when Turkish armies were a constant threat to eastern Europe, their costumes and tactics were imitated by their foes.
18th-19th century Tibetan sword and scabbard. Made with Iron, silver, wood, textile, turquoise, coral and leather.
Hilt from a viking age sword.
Photograph by Kent E. Olsson
In 1911, archaeologists dug up strings of iron beads at the Gerzeh cemetery, about 43 miles south of Cairo. The Gerzeh bead is the earliest discovered use of iron by the Egyptians, dating back from 3350 to 3600 BC. The bead was originally thought to be from a meteorite based on its composition of nickel-rich iron, but scientists challenged this theory back in the 1980s. However, the latest research places this theory back on top.
The scientists used a combination of electron microscope and X-ray CT scanner analyses to demonstrate that the nickel-rich chemical composition of the bead confirms its meteorite origins.
Philip Withers, a professor of materials science at University of Manchester, said meteorites have a unique microstructural and chemical fingerprint because they cooled incredibly slowly as they traveled through space. He said it was interesting to find that fingerprint in the Gerzeh bead.
“This research highlights the application of modern technology to ancient materials not only to understand meteorites better but also to help us understand what ancient cultures considered these materials to be and the importance they placed upon them,” said Open University Project Officer Diane Johnson, who led the study.
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Visitors from the Other Side: Spirit Photography by William Hope c. 1920 via The National Media Museum on Flickr Commons
Very Rare Electrum Stater from Kyzikos, Mysia c. 500-450 BC
The coin shows a winged deer with a tunny fish below; an incuse quadripartite square is on the reverse.
Kyzikos (Cyzicus) was a city in the region of Mysia in the northwest of ancient Asia Minor or Anatolia (modern Balıkesir Province, Turkey).
The city was said to have been founded by Pelasgians from Thessaly, according to tradition at the coming of the Argonauts; later it received many colonies from Miletus, allegedly in 756 BC, but its importance began only after the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC), when the decay of Athens and Miletus set in.