Chain mails and helmets were not only for knights

Chain mails and helmets were not only for knights

July 28, 2020

The unique items have added to the collection of the Taimyr Museum of Local Lore.

Together with the chain mail and the helmet, a geodetic expedition that worked in 1968 on the territory of the Ust-Yenisei region near the village of Nosok discovered a double-edged spear and a stone tool. Experts attributed the finds to the 17th century, to the period when Taimyr was developed by Russian industrial people. By this time, chain mail was used not only by warriors, but also by wealthy citizens.

36 years later, in 2004, the chain mail found in the tundra was restored at the Grabar Center. The lost elements were made, the metal shirt was cleaned and preserved. The employees of the Taimyr Museum of Local Lore placed the chain mail and the helmet in the exposition complex Mangazeya – the First City of the Siberian Arctic, although the current village of Nosok was also founded by merchants in the 17th century.

Experts attributed the finds to the 17th century, to the period when Taimyr was developed by Russian industrial people

As the museum workers testify, the three-hundred-year-old armor is of great interest to all visitors. Firstly, most people associate chain mail with the Middle Ages, knightly tournaments, and not with Taimyr. Secondly, there is an opportunity to see how the chain mail shirt is woven. Perhaps it was made in the workshop of a craft center in Mangazeya.

Mangazeya was the first russian city of the Siberian Arctic

It is known that chain mail weaving is a laborious and lengthy process. On average, it consisted of 10-12 thousand iron rings, which took up to 600 meters of millimeter wire. First, the wire was spirally wound on an iron rod, then cut on one side into separate rings. They were intertwined into a canvas: the ends of each ring were overlapped and connected with a miniature rivet. The riveted chain mail protected from being hit by melee weapons better. The shirt weighed at least 10 kilograms, so they put it on before the battle. Moreover, the underclothes had to be made of leather, felt, stuffed with cotton wool and quilted in several layers. The first chain mail was sewn onto a leather dress. They cleaned the armor in barrels with sand, which were either pushed from the hills, or rolled on special mechanisms.

According to the museum information, taking to consideration some signs found on the helmet, it was assumed in the Restoration Center that the armor found on Taimyr had belonged to a person of a high rank.

Read about ancient brass sundial, mammoth tusk pipes, the tambourine of the last Nganasan shaman, the sextant brought to Dudinka by the most famous Finn in Russia, Ville Haapasalo, and other unique items from the local museums, using the Artefacts tag.

Text: Valentina Vachaeva, Photo: Taimyr Museum of Local Lore

July 28, 2020

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