February 21, 2018

PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD, HADRIAN’S WALL EDITION: Roman boxing gloves unearthed by Vindolanda dig.

Experts at Vindolanda, near Hexham, in Northumberland, believe they are “probably the only known surviving examples from the Roman period”.

Dr Andrew Birley, Vindolanda Trust director of excavations, described the leather bands as an “astonishing” find.

The gloves were discovered last summer along with a hoard of writing tablets, swords, shoes and bath clogs.

Made of leather, they were designed to fit snugly over the knuckles and have the appearance of a protective guard.

Dr Birley said: “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.

This is an impressive find, but not as impressive as the last line from the story: “It is understood they would have been used for sparring sessions as they do not have metal inserts used in ancient boxing bouts.”

Ouch.

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