Object of VIP13: Round 2
For the past 7 weeks a team of 18 volunteers have been checking, organising and sorting London’s archaeology at the Museum of London. We’ve selected the cream of the crop regarding the artefacts they’ve come across and we’re getting them to battle for your favour in a online object competition. There’s no real reason to do so other than we think they’re amazing objects and we like to have a bit of fun every now and again. Round 1 kicked off on Tuesday and our first winner was ….
The Sword & Scabbard Pilgrim Badge from Swan Lane!
Ready for Round 2?
First today is this secular badge from 1981’s Swan Lane excavations which is in the form of an axe. The axehead is made from pewter and has been fixed to a hazelwood haft. It dates to the end of the 13th Century and is reminiscent of Danish battle-axes from this period. Each face has decorative patterns and an inscribed word; AMI[E] on one, AVE[S] on the other with the suggested translation of ‘you have a friend’. Similar to sporting events today, this badge may have been worn by a spectator at a tournament or contest. It was audited by Tuesday volunteer Roksana during week 2.
The next object raises more questions than answers. The artefact is made from copper-alloy and depicts a dog-like animal. It too was discovered during excavations at Swan Lane in a very medieval context (along with medieval shoes, buckles, a brooch and an arrow). However, its function has caused a bit of debate in the archive. Could it be the end of a decorative hairpin (similar to one on display in the Museum’s Roman gallery) or could it be much later and sit atop a spoon from the post-medieval period? Or is it something else entirely? Thursday volunteers Ceri & Geof audited this item during week 6.
Wednesday’s volunteer Catherine repacked the next object during week 5; this small artefact looks like a toy but is in fact a roman votive offering. Objects such as these are common in the Roman world and are often discovered with burials or thrown into streams or rivers. Excavations at Lefevre Road, where this particular one was found in 1969, discovered cremations and inhumations as well as the road from London to Colchester and a small settlement in the surrounding area. A parallel from the other side of today’s London, at Brentford, can been seen on display in the Museum’s Roman gallery.
Next is a 14th century baselard handle made from boxwood with an iron end cap and hilt plate. Few weapons have been found from London’s medieval sites and this is one of only three weapons discovered during the Swan Lane excavations. Its identification is based on the standard ‘H’shape handle, a feature more common to baselards than swords or daggers. It was likely to have been carried in a scabbard by a person of some social standing.Thursday volunteer Kate audited this artefact during week 2.
The final choice today is this red clay pottery fragment with the head of a female figured moulded to the vessel’s body. It seems to be a type of ‘headpot’ that are occasionally found throughout the roman empire. This one was discovered during excavations at Lefevre Road, a site that was close to the main road leading from Colchester to London as well as several burials. This is quite apt as several headpots and facepots have been discovered in funerary contexts and this vessel may well have had a part to play in a roman funerary custom. Our student placement, Lizzie, repacked this object during week 4.
So will it be the sword that succeeds or will the dog do it for you? Will the votive axe get your vote or the headpot get ahead? Or maybe the armorial mount mount its own challenge? Only one way to decide which is best; Get Voting!
Voting has now closed
Voting closes at midday Monday 7th July when voting for Round 3 will open