The Witham Shield is one of the most iconic objects of the British Iron Age.
Discovered in the River Witham between Stamp End and Washingborough in 1826, the shield was initially in the possession of the Rector of Washingborough, Humphrey Waldo Sibthorp.
Lord Brownlow persuaded Sibthorp to pass the shield to Samuel Meyrick, a well-known London collector of arms and armour.
When Meyrick died the shield was purchased by Sir Augustus Wollaston Franks, who donated it to the British Museum in 1872.
The surviving ‘shield’ is actually only the bronze facing of a shield, the wooden backing having rotted prior to discovery.
Made in the 3rd Century BC, probably but not certainly in Britain, the shield is a masterpiece of Iron Age decorative art.
Alongside geometric and zoomorphic devices are inlays of imported coral, and a now lost applied image of a long-legged boar, evidenced only by the rivet holes that once held it in place.
Courtesy of Lincolnshire County Council, The Collection
Archaeology, Witham shield, Iron Age, Washingborough, Humphrey Waldo Sibthorp, Lord Brownlow, Meyric