A long chain mail tunic

Contributed by Verulamium Museum

A long chain mail tunic probably from a rider, with silver droplets adhering from objects burnt on a pyre close by

A long mail coat made of fine iron rings. It was possibly used by an officer in the Roman cavalry, and weighing 10.2kg.This chain mail tunic was placed onto a cremation pyre and burnt along with other objects, such as a couch and bridle bit. The cremation, dating to around 50/55 AD, was that of an important individual, possibly a member of the Catuvellauni royal family. The tunic may be evidence from their service in the Roman cavalry as an officer and such a tunic may be the closest thing to the burial of war-gear by a civilian that the Roman authorities allowed. The burial is traditionally Iron Age in form, for a member of the ruling elite, and, as it was allowed by the Roman authorities it suggests close co-operation. Later, the authorities even allowed additional veneration of this individual when a temple was built next to the burial. The burial took place in a small pit above a much larger one that contained a mortuary house where burial rites would have taken place prior to cremation. Both house and burial were sealed by a mound of turfs.

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