In such cases the bronze is usually fairly preserved, while the iron is deeply rusted and frequently quite fragile.
The best preserved iron objects come from certain peat mosses. In some of these enormous deposits have been found. The famous localities are Nydam and Thorsbjerg, now, unfortunately, no longer Danish possessions. At Thorsbjerg the articles were found mainly in a layer of soft dark peat, about five feet thick, which was under eleven feet of peat of a different character. The objects were apparently placed here intentionally and at one time. Several layers of wooden shields, one above the other, with javelins
Fig. 22.—Commemorative Bronze Tablet in Museum Court.
thrust through them; in another spot, pieces of chain mail; elsewhere, bundles of iron spearheads or arrowheads wrapped in chain mail, a cluster of objects of gold, vessels of clay sunk by stones placed in them. Everything had been destroyed or rendered worthless before it was placed here. Of course at that time the upper eleven feet of peat had not formed, and there was probably a pond of water above the antiquities-bearing layer. At Thorsbjerg, for some reason, the iron has not been well preserved; at Nydam it is in excellent condition. Here the relics lay at a depth of some four to seven feet on a sandy and clayey bottom; as at Thorsbjerg, the objects are clustered and grouped together as if