August - Handle with care

Friday, August 19, 2016 10:30:00 AM Categories: Copper Medieval Metal Post-medieval Tool

After the special artefact featured in July we are back to the more modest this month with a rather corroded handle terminal of a scale tang late medieval to early post medieval knife.  The handle terminal is comprised of two sub-square copper alloy plates with curved ends that sandwich a remnant of the iron knife tang between.

Photograph of knife handle terminal

One plate has a central circular depression which taken with a slight witness mark on the opposite plate is suggestive of a central rivet that passes through a coincident hole in the tang.  Both plates are decorated with engraved images.  One side can be interpreted as a left facing cowled head, possibly iconographic; however, the other side cannot be resolved. 


Complete example of knife of same type and date

The complete example of a knife shown is courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum collection; although it is not a close parallel in terms of the handle terminal design it's form and date are broadly indicative of type.  Circa 1450-1550 AD.  The object was found near Dereham in a cultivated field by an old spring.  A full description can be found on the Portable Antiquities website (www.finds.org.uk) using the reference number NMS-833624.

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