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Wooden shields were perhaps the first handcrafted devices used for defense. Either by carving the item from a block of wood or by securing flat planks together, it came into service rather early among the Celts, Picts and Mongols. The Vikings were also known to have made use of such shields.
Their effectiveness was shortlived though as a few sharp and heavy blows from a sword or axe rapidly destroyed the natural composition of the shield. However it did provide minimal protection and against enemies who carried no shields at all it was often the deciding factor in victory.