An ancient Roman shield gets a makeover thanks to a Yale team

Shield painted with two scenes from Iliad (ca. mid-third century A.D.). Poplar planks and pigment. Yale-French Excavations at Dura-Europos (Yale University Art Gallery)

A Roman shield — painted with scenes from the Trojan War and possibly used in parades during ancient times — is being brought to light in a whole new way by a Yale team over 2,000 years after it was created and 80 years after it was excavated.

The shield — which dates back to the mid-third century A.D. — was discovered in 1935 by Yale archaeologists at the site of Dura-Europos, in present-day Syria. The site was first excavated by a French team in 1922; Yale joined the excavation in 1929. The shield is one of three that were found stacked together at the excavation site, all of which are in the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG).