In last week’s What Is It? Facebook discussion, these objects were presented with multiple choices. Many of our readers guessed their function correctly, and we are happy to be able to provide more detailed information on these artifacts. A new What Is It? will be posted to Facebook in the middle of the week–in the mean time, explore the site for more content on Biblical archaeology!
Answer: C. Roman armor scales
These bronze scales were discovered at the palace/fortress at Masada, along with more than 1,000 others. Cut from cast sheet metal less than 1 millimeter thick, the small metal scales were punched with two or four holes and often reinforced by a raised border and a central rib. The scales were then wired together and sewn to a fabric backing in overlapping rows to create a form-fitting, yet flexible, hip-length garment of armor, which the Romans called a lorica squamata (“scaled cuirass”).
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