Cutting Edge Fantasy | Damascus Steel & Valyrian Steel

Following the season finale of HBO’s epic ‘Game of Thrones’, Stefan Maeder, Director of Collections here at the Royal Armouries gives us a fascinating insight into the legendary traits of Valyrian steel and it’s real life parallel – Damascus Steel.  Damascus Steel, A Myth? All attempts at “myth-busting” are doomed to fail when it comes to fantasy or fiction. On the other hand it is important to be aware of the degree to which even nowadays myths shape our perception ofRead more

Warrior Treasures: hear from the blacksmith, Stuart Makin

At the Royal Armouries in Leeds, visitors can see our new temporary exhibition ‘Warrior Treasures: Saxon Gold of the Staffordshire Hoard’, running from the 27th May until the 2nd October 2016. In parallel with the exhibition, the museum is running a blog series providing behind the scenes details on how these fascinating items were discovered, conserved, and prepared for the exhibition. In this post, we heard from blacksmith and artist Stuart Makin who has made a stunning sculpture inspired by the objects of the Staffordshire HoardRead more

Conservation, Museums and Blacksmithing

As part of the National Heritage Ironwork Group’s Heritage Blacksmiths Bursary, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s ‘Skills for the Future Programme’, I have had the pleasure of spending three weeks working in the Conservation Department of the Royal Armouries. Coming from a background in blacksmithing, where often the delicate work simply requires the use of a slightly smaller hammer, it was a bit of a change swapping to cotton wool buds! The craftsmanship and skill of the weaponsmiths andRead more