The viking shield was the most common means of defense. Traditionally shields were made of linden (Lime) wood although other timbers may also have been used such as Alder and Poplar. These timbers are not very dense and are light in the hand. They also have a characteristic in that they are not inclined to split unlike Oak. Also, the fibers of the timber bind around blades preventing the blade from cutting any deeper unless a lot more pressure is applied. Round shields seem to have varied in size from around 45 - 120cm (18" - 48") in diameter but the smaller and more manageable 75 - 90cm (30" - 36") is by far the most common.