A buckler is a small leather hand-held shield with a spiked central iron element called a boss. Usually of Welsh manufacture, the buckler is round (about 11 to 14″ in diameter) and slightly concave in shape towards one’s opponent. The leather shield was reinforced with rings of iron secured by small brass tacks that would glisten in the sunshine.
Fighting with a heavy double-edged sword in one hand and a buckler in the other was no longer practiced in England at the time of the Jamestown settlement. Instead, the lighter thrusting rapier was used with the parrying dagger, following a system of fencing developed in Italy. Yet the buckler was still useful to a colonist in Virginia engaged in hand-to-hand fighting that did not follow the European rules of swordplay.