Scientists, thanks to the use of the latest technologies and computers, were able to reconstruct the 1,800-year-old mail and observe how it could be worn and how it behaved during combat.
The aforementioned mail is the best-preserved object of this type from ancient times. The object was discovered at the end of the 19th century in Denmark, near Vimose, and has survived almost intact to our times. Most of these types of items, unfortunately, under the influence of water or air, corrode and are destroyed. In this case, however, scientists believe that the mail was taken from a defeated Germanic warrior and thrown as a gift to the gods into the swamp. The anoxic conditions in the swamp guaranteed the perfect preservation of the object to our times.
Scientists wanting to better understand how the armor consisting of about 20,000 rings behaved, decided to reconstruct the mail in a computer. For this purpose, the preserved mail was placed on the dummy, and then the image was transferred to the screens and each ring became a separate object. For visualization, game engines such as Unreal Engine, Unity or CryEngine were used, which accelerated the process of mapping reactions between the rings.
Thanks to this, it was possible to get a better look at the behavior of the armor, which was popular in Europe from around the 3rd century BCE, until the expeditions of the conquistadors. It should be noted, however, that the execution over the centuries was different and therefore the armor behaved differently.
As part of their study, scientists applied various types of clothes that were found in different parts of Europe from this period on a virtual dummy. The researchers concluded that the use of a mail belt allowed the weight to be distributed more evenly and prevented the mail from moving around. Moreover, the warrior was still able to put a sufficiently thick material under the mail to ensure that the armor fit the body better and prevent skin irritation.
Researchers will want to use similar visualizations on the computer when reconstructing other types of weapons.
For more information, see the study.