Object of LAARC VIP9 – Round 2December 6, 2011 Archaeology, LAARC, LAARC Object of the month, LAARC VIP
Get Your Voting Fingers Out
Each day this week we’re celebrating the success of our ninth Volunteer Inclusion Project, by putting the best objects that we’ve seen over the past 10 weeks up in daily competitions to decide which is the best.
Yesterday saw some tough choices but there was one clear winner. The object you voted as your favourite was…
This now enters Friday’s Grand Final. And here’s today’s options:
First up is from week 3 and was audited by Tuesday volunteer Carl. This 16th–17th Century copper-alloy figurine depicts the English Patron Saint, George, defeating the legendary dragon. It has been interpreted as a dress or belt fitting although the suspension rings at each end suggest that it may have been part of a more complicated mount. If the object did not have these attachments it could be interpreted as a toy. The object is detailed with plate armour, which is a common depiction of the Saint as a Roman soldier (Georgius). An interesting item considering its discovery in 1979 was outside the Tower of London postern gate excavations – perhaps it was lost by a guard…or deliberately discarded?
Next is this late medieval or early post-medieval wooden chess piece audited by Monday volunteer Norma during week 2. Earlier chess or gaming pieces are non-figurative and usually made of bone. Chess originated in India, known as shatranj, with the gaming pieces represented military divisions. The ‘bishop’ was originally an elephant and the later design of these pieces with a split head may be representative of the elephant’s tusks. Chess became very popular across Europe in the Middle Ages, the deep groove in the piece at this time representing a bishop’s mitre. It was originally discovered in 1979 at Miles Lane.
Third up is a well preserved example of a medieval purse. The ‘medieval’ style of wearing a purse was for it to be hung from the waist, attaching to a belt or girdle. Later types would thread through the belt as an anti-bandit mechanism. This one was excavated from the medieval waterfront at Vintry, hence its fantastic survival condition. It was found alongside dress fittings, trade seals, metalworking waste and coins…but none were found in the actual purse! It was audited by Wednesday volunteer Hannah during week 7
The last object was audited by Friday volunteer Susan during week 5. This is the base of a Roman samian cup dating to 160 – 200 AD and discovered at Seal House in 1974. On the base’s interior is the stamp of the pot maker: one Saturninus of Lezoux in central Gaul (Roman France), from where a huge amount of samian was exported to the wider Roman Empire. The potter Saturninus shares his name with the Roman winter festival the Saturnalia – in honour of the god Saturn – at which Roman social norms were inverted. Considering Winter has now kicked in, this seemed an appropriate object to include as an object of the week!
And now it’s your time to choose today’s best object. Which will you go for? To vote, click on the word VOTE! below:
Voting has now closed but you can vote in Round 4’s competition
Voting will close at noon tomorrow, when the winner will be announced and Round 3 will open.
Thanks for playing!