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Pair of ancient Roman boxing gloves unearthed

Posted on Wednesday, 21 February, 2018 | Comment icon 11 comments

The Romans built Hadrian's Wall at the northern limit of their empire. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Oliver Dixon
The well-preserved gloves were discovered during the excavation of a Roman fort on Hadrian's Wall.
Created from a single piece of leather folded over in to a pouch, each boxing glove was designed to fit snugly over the wearer's knuckles to protect them from impacts during practice sparring matches.

The level of preservation is such that the gloves, which were unearthed at Vindolanda fort near Hexham in northern England, can still fit on to a person's hands.

"I have seen representations of Roman boxing gloves depicted on bronze statues, paintings and sculptures, but to have the privilege of finding two real leather examples is exceptionally special," said director of excavations Andrew Birley.

"What really makes Vindolanda so unique is the range of organic objects that we find. Every one of them brings you closer to the people who lived here nearly 2,000 years ago."

"But the hairs stand up on the back of your neck when you realize that you have discovered something as astonishing as these boxing gloves."

Source: | Comments (11)

Tags: Roman

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by glorybebe on 21 February, 2018, 6:58
Amazing how they survived.
Comment icon #3 Posted by LittleDevil on 21 February, 2018, 21:22
They look more like knuckledusters than boxing gloves to me. Boxing gloves are intended to protect both combatants from serious injury whereas the intent of these leather implements are only to protect the wearer while still being able to inflict maximum damage to the opponent. Still a very exciting find though.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Oniomancer on 22 February, 2018, 1:11
Comment icon #5 Posted by Black Monk on 22 February, 2018, 9:56
They appear to be a type of Roman boxing glove called the Cestus, which derived from the Olympics of Ancient Greece.
Comment icon #6 Posted by seanjo on 22 February, 2018, 10:29
Great find, being from that neck of the woods, I've been there a few times and along the wall, it's beautiful in spring, summer and Autumn...fricken wet and freezing in winter...
Comment icon #7 Posted by Black Monk on 22 February, 2018, 11:27
It's a great walk along the wall. I remember as a kid visiting Hadrian's Wall and buying some replica Roman coins from a nearby visitors' shop. What can be better than walking alongside the world's largest Roman artefact on a beautiful day surrounded by beautiful countryside?
Comment icon #8 Posted by oldrover on 23 February, 2018, 14:35
If there's a better post than this anytime soon I'll be surprised.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Black Monk on 23 February, 2018, 15:20
It's that fellow from the Warburtons advert on TV where he's stood on Bolton town hall steps.
Comment icon #10 Posted by oldrover on 23 February, 2018, 17:52
I can't place that ad. In fact I can't bring to mind any Warburtons ads. I know I've seen them. Mind blank.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Black Monk on 24 February, 2018, 10:42
Warburtons is a great Bolton company (along with Reebok) and I was there on the day Mr Stallone stood on the steps of Bolton town hall for the Warburtons advert he was in.

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