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Ancient Roman boxing gloves found during dig at Hadrian's Wall

Archaeologists have unearthed two "extremely rare" Roman boxing gloves during an excavation at the site of a fort on Hadrian's Wall.

Ancient Roman boxing gloves found during dig at Hadrian's Wall
The gloves resemble leather padded bands rather than the full-hand versions used in modern boxing
[Credit: The Vindolanda Trust]
Researchers said they believed the gloves, which can still "sit comfortably on a modern hand", were most likely used for sparring and practice.

They were found at the Vindolanda fort near Hexham in northern England in the middle of last year.

"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," Vindolanda Trust CEO and director of excavations Andrew Birley said.

"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 realise that you have discovered something as astonishing as these boxing gloves."

Ancient Roman boxing gloves found during dig at Hadrian's Wall
A print from an engraving showing gladiators boxing [Credit: Historical Picture Archive/Corbis via Getty Images]
Unlike the modern boxing glove, the ancient examples have the appearance of a protective guard; designed to fit snugly over the knuckles, protecting them from impact.

The larger of the two gloves was cut from a single piece of leather and was folded into a pouch.

The glove was packed with natural material, acting as a shock absorber.

A number of other valuable relics were recovered on the dig, including swords, "wafer thin" writing tablets, leather shoes, bath clogs, combs and dice.

Source: ABC News Website [February 22, 2018]


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