Leather in Warfare: Attack, Defence and the Unexpected


Leather in Warfare is a collection of papers from a conference jointly organised by the Archaeological Leather Group and the Royal Armouries Museum. It draws together authors from a range of disciplines and nationalities, and offers a fresh perspective on the varied use of this versatile material throughout history.

Contributors – several of whom are Royal Armouries staff  cover issues as diverse as Romano-Egyptian ceremonial clothing, Roman campaign tents, the equipment of the medieval swordsman and Japanese Samurai, Mamluk lamellar armour and European plate armour, the buff coat of the English Civil War and the fish skin helmet of the Pacific Island warrior.

The volume is an important overview of the functions played by leather and skin products in warfare, and provides a useful starting point for those wishing to study this fascinating topic in the future. It is recommended to specialists and enthusiasts alike.


  • Warm and dry: a complete Roman tent from Vindolanda (Carol van Driel-Murray)
  • A Romano-Egyptian cuirass and helmet made from crocodile skin: conservation and context (Barbara Wills)
  • Changing styles of Anglo-Saxon scabbards AD 600-1100 (Esther Cameron)
  • Fourteenth-century sword sheaths from Leiden city centre (Carol van Driel-Murray)
  • Leather plate armour in medieval Europe (Thom Richardson)
  • A poor man’s armour? Late medieval leather armour from excavations in the Netherlands (Marloes Rijkelijkhuizen and Marquita Volken)
  • Taken for a ride? The case for a unique surviving leather horse bard of Henry VIII (Karen Watts)
  • Cuir Bouilli: fracture toughness testing of hide-based materials (Eddie Cheshire)
  • The leather equipment of the sixteenth-century ‘mercenary’ from the Theodul Pass, Zermatt, Switzerland (Marquita Volken)
  • Seventeenth-century buff coats and other military equipment (Keith Dowen)
  • Grips, sleeves and liners: leather on European edged weapons (Henry Yallop)
  • Cover-guard, copellet or chape: an overlooked component of medieval swords (Nicolas P. Baptiste)
  • Mamluk armour: leather lamellar cuirasses from Syria (David Nicolle)
  • Leather in Japanese arms and armour (Ian Bottomley)
  • Nature’s defences: non-mammalian armour in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford (Helen Adams)
  • Leather in warfare – not all fighting (Yvette Fletcher)
  • No place to hide: a look at leathers in the Royal Armouries collection (Suzanne J. Dalewicz-Kitto)

Publication date: 1st September 2017
ISBN: 9780948092763
Dimensions: 248x186 mm
No. of pages: 228
Binding style: Paperback
Details of illustrations: 150 illustrations

Paperback: 224 pages

Publisher: Trustees of the Royal Armouries; First Edition edition (1 Sept. 2017)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0948092769

ISBN-13: 978-0948092763

Dimensions: 24.8 x 18.4 cm

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