Testing Shields with Blunts & Sharps
This is the third and final part of videos presenting footage recorded at the Grand Opening of Ásfólk Viking Martial Arts., Minnesota. See testing of the shield that was constructed in the previous two videos. (See part 1 here  and part 2 here .)

You may care to know edge composition stats of that particular shield: c. 0.6 mm for front face hide, c. 2 mm of wood, 0.6mm for back face hide, and 1.2mm for edge hide, amounting to a minimal combined thickness of c. 4.4mm (0.17 inch).

Regarding research and reconstruction, Arthur von Eschen specifies: 

“The actual shield I produced based on these finds had a final edge thickness that ranged from 3.6mm to 5.4mm with an average of 4.43mm (based on 13 equidistant measurements). As far as source material... I based it on measurements I was able to get from numerous finds: Birka grave 45 (2mm open expands to 4.2mm edge), Birka grave 736 (edge thickness of different clamps ranged from 3.4mm to 5.3mm), Vendels IX20b (edge thickness of different clamps ranged from 3.8mm to 4.2mm) and Hovgarden/Skopintull/48 (edge thickness of different clamps ranged from 2.5mm to 4.9mm).“

Front and back facings of hide are confirmed by e.g. finds published by Greta  Arwidson. Whether these consisted of tanned leather or parchment/raw hide is impossible to say after such a long time in the ground. Chemical reactions with the surrounding soil render according tests unreliable. All we can say is that all hair was removed from the hide prior to using it. It also appears to have been rather thin, and may have been cow hide (Arwidsson), which makes sense, as cattle was a lot smaller a thousand years ago, so smaller livestock like goat or sheep would probably not have provided hides big enough to cover an entire shield, which would be c. 85+cm in diameter.

Edge strips are are indicated by the shape of surviving metal edge clamps. Plus, the Gokstad burial shields show small holes along the edge which may have been drilled to fasten an edge strip which has perished today.

Special thanks to my patron Sean Holt for recording.