THEY came, they saw … and they used superglue.
Archaeologists in Germany say they have found a 2000-year-old glue that Roman warriors used to repair helmets, shields and other accessories of battle.
"Caesar's Superglue" — as it has been dubbed by the co-workers of the Rhine State Museum in Bonn — was found on a helmet at a site near Xanthen on the Rhine River where Romans settled before Christ.
"We found that the parade cavalry helmet had been repaired with an adhesive that was still doing its job," said restorer Frank Willer.
He said that since the find researchers had been going over collections of weapons and armour from the battle of the Teutoburger Wood in Germany, where tribal leader Varus defeated four of the seven legions of Rome in one of the decisive clashes of the Roman world.
There are traces of DIY repairs on them.
"This is rightly called some kind of superglue because air, water and time have not diminished its bonding properties," Mr Willer said.
His team discovered the adhesive accidentally when they examined the repair to the helmet.
Silver on the helmet separated from iron under heat — and the threads of the glue were discovered.
The remains have already been under the microscope: the Romans made their adhesive from a mixture of bitumen, cattle fat and bark pitch.
Researchers believe the Romans added soot, sand and quartz to the mixture for various jobs and to improve "stickability".
"We haven't mixed a batch ourselves but we can thoroughly recommend it lasts, 2000 years later," Mr Willer said.
There are folks studying ancient adhesives, by the way ... (here's a news version of that abstract)