The purpose of the overlapping shields placed along the gunwales may have been to protect the crew from spray as well as to alleviate the storage problem for the shields. A mounting rail to which the shields could be secured ran the length of the ship thus providing for an impressive display. So as not to interfere with the task of the oarsmen, it is thought that the display of shields were reserved for when the ship was in port.

See Also

Medieval Shipping
History of Navigation

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