Hundreds of pieces of Roman armor, similar to the type worn in the movie “Gladiator,” have been unearthed in an archaeological dig in England.

The find was made at Carlisle Castle in Cumbria, as archaeologists uncovered buildings dating back to the Emperor Hadrian’s visit to Britain in 122 AD. Among the discoveries was a workshop where armor was made containing hundreds of pieces of armor and weaponry, including spears, arrow heads and sling shots.

Archaeologists have discovered several pieces of what are thought to be limb guards of the type commonly used by gladiators in the area to protect their arms and legs inbattle. The artifacts have been x-rayed at the Royal Armories in Leeds, then taken to the University of Durham, where they will be kept in protective cold storage until conservation work on them begins. Items that are too big for the freezer are being kept frozen using carbon dioxide pellets and insulating covers.

Jennifer Jones, a conservation expert from English Heritage, explains why: ?The artifacts were excavated wet and include organic materials like leather. They could be destroyed if allowed to dry out, so they have been frozen to preserve them.?

John Zant of Carlisle Archaeology is especially interested in the limb guards. ?We know these were used by gladiators in the arena but they are not shown in any contemporary depictions of legionaries. They were probably not standard issue and we are very keen to find out why they were used here.?

?There are more than 12,000 artifacts, so it will be an extraordinary challenge,? says Jones, ?and whoever carries out the work will have to work closely with an armor expert so they know exactly what they are dealing with.?

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