This mystery comes from the Look Again Project and the redisplaying of the costume gallery.
One of the items I handled when helping with the decant of the display cases was a pair of mid 17thC gauntlet gloves. Made from cream leather the gauntlets are decorated with silver metal fringe and embroidery. The edges of the fingers are also accentuated with a line of silver chain stitch.
I’d been admiring these gloves through the glass of the case for many years so to handle them was a real treat. Imagine my surprise and excitement when I inspected the insides to find the gauntlets lined with a document.
Beautiful clear Latin script on fine (I presume) parchment. Sadly, I don’t read Latin. My mind raced – was this subversive religious text or just 17thC up-cycling? I still don’t know, so if anyone is able to translate the text for me, I’d be very grateful, and I can provide more photos to help.
Does anyone know of other gloves lined with a document?
Does anyone wonder why we Volunteers love our work?? What a story! If you can read the Latin, please help. Thank you Pompi for bringing this one to our attention.
Lord Carnarvon never saw Tutankhamun’s mask. He died before the sarcophagus was opened! The curse of the tomb-raider….
When HMS Victory was built she was too wide to get through the dockyard gates and no-one noticed until the evening before the planned launch!
The space shuttle Endeavour carried a fragment of Captain Cook’s ship of the same name in her cockpit.
This week,at Knapp Castle, Sussex, a white stork hatched in a tree top. it was the first one to hatch in this country for 604 years…that’s one year after the Battle of Agincourt (1415)!!
AND SOME MORE…… (from your blogger)
Did you know that to be “on tenterhooks” (which means to be very tense, etc) is an expression which comes from textile making communities? Tenterhooks were hooks on frames on which newly manufactured cloth was stretched when drying.
My father had Lancashire connections and used many expressions linked to the textile industry, including this one. But tenterhooks and their frames were seen on downland around Salisbury and other parts of Wiltshire in the late Middle Ages as woollen cloth was made here too.
Another of my father’s expressions was “get weaving” (“hurry up”). No explanation necessary.
One Salisbury Museum Volunteer has been using her knowledge of ancient things, to produce some interesting items.
Claire Goodey, who volunteers at the museum with Wil Partridge, the Wiltshire Finds Liaison Officer, has long and wide experience and expertise with archaeology, including work at Stonehenge and on many excavations.
Two years ago, several of the PAS (Portable Antiquities Scheme) volunteers had the chance to make bronze axe heads using what are thought to be the ancient techniques. Claire was there.
During this period of social distancing, Claire decided to try and haft her axehead. She writes:
“How did I make it? The handle is hazel with the bark stripped off and then very carefully with the smallest chisel (a modern one made of iron!) making a hole shaped like the axe which has flanges and curves – not easy – it took me probably 4 hours to do.
….we probably don’t know how they hafted them, as wood normally rots. Bronze Age axeheads come in many differing shapes, some have a loop of metal through which you could thread sinew so obviously they were bound on. We have two in the Neolithic Houses at Stonehenge which are hafted into a piece of wood that looks like a duck’s head because it is taken from a branch that has a right angle and the axe makes the beak – those are both bound and stuck. I wanted to make one of those but despite looking for such a piece for the last two years I never found one suitable. (As per photo attached).
This I am sure of: Neolithic glue is formed of 50% pine resin and 50% beeswax with a pinch of powdered charcoal.”
Claire has also produced a bull roarer:
“(It is spun) round the head – produces a spooky sound, deeper if the bullroarer is hardwood, used in ceremonies around the world especially by shamans. Earliest known bullroarer dates from 17,000BC, found in the Ukraine”.
And a bow and drill set:
Now, how about some experimental archaeology for the members of your household….?
Thanks Claire, for sharing some interesting and clever creations!
Skeletons of the “Amesbury Archer” and the “Companion”. Personal observations by Keith Rodger
There are many interesting thing to tell visitors about these two individuals. Chemical analysis of teeth and bones tell us that the Archer probably came to the Amesbury area from the central European Alps whereas the Companion was born here, perhaps two generations later, travelled to central Europe and then returned to die in his mid-twenties. This says much of the ability to travel in the late Neolithic. We can also learn a lot by simple observation through the glass of the display cabinets.
The archer has lost the patella (kneecap) from his left leg, Fig 1. Comparing the bones of his two legs, we can see that the left is slimmer than the right. However, be careful, their orientations differ and the difference is less that it appears. This asymmetry is consistent with the theory that the archer favoured the injured limb by limping. This would have caused the muscle of the left leg to diminish and that in turn would cause the bone to waste.
Further examination shows that the right tibia (shinbone) has a thickening consistent with a healed fracture Fig 2. It is possible that the longitudinal cracks in the bone indicated in Fig 3 are the result of this healing; however, this must be treated with caution without detailed examination by an osteo-archaeologist. He was an adult when the fracture occurred.
The cause of the archer’s injuries are of course unknown, but one notes that he was buried wearing a boar’s tusk. Were these two injuries received at the same time and caused by a hunted boar?
The companion is only represented in the Museum by two gold ornaments, similar to those found with the archer, and a boar’s tusk. However, reportedly (I have not seen his skeleton.) he and the archer shared an anomalous structure, called a talocalcaneal coalition, in the skeleton of the foot. Anatomically this feature is a kind of extra joint: Fig 4 shows a normal foot X-ray and Fig 5 the skeleton of the archer. This condition is unusual, about 1:1000, rather than rare, and it is inherited. This does not mean that the companion was a direct descendant of the archer, although the proximity of their graves might hint at that. The nature of the inheritance of the anomaly is such that it is common in families not associated with the sex genes (autosomal dominant) but scarce in the wider population. Thus, it might be quite common in a particular group, less so in near neighbours and almost unrepresented further afield. It seems reasonable to suppose that the archer arrived with kin and near neighbours and that the companion is a descendant of one of that group.
Here we note that Wikipedia states that:
“A male skeleton found interred nearby is believed to be that of a younger man related to the Archer, as they shared a rare hereditary anomaly, calcaneonavicular coalition, fusing of the calcaneus and of the naviculartarsal (foot bones).”
Clearly, this is wrong: the archer does have a “coalition” but between the talus and the calcaneus, the anomaly does not involve the navicular bone nor has it fused (“synostosis” is the correct medical term for a fusion). Fusions are indeed rare, coalitions much less so, it its quite likely that the reader will know someone with a “coalition” it is very unlikely that they will have met anyone with a “fusion”. (However, I have – so there!!) Generally, a coalition has little clinical significance; there may be a slight tendency to sprained ankles due to a slight loss of flexibility and possibly arthritis in old age, but it is unlikely that the archer experienced any problem. They occur on the medial (inside) of the foot.
I am indebted to my wife, a retired radiologist, who proof-read the above and ensured that the long words are in the correct places. The text however represents my personal observations and any error is mine alone.
Another article from Keith Rodger, or, as he describes it “blog fodder”! And how welcome it is!
That lovely pub sign on display in the cafe corridor of the museum has come under more scrutiny (see earlier article ‘Good To See’ 4 February). This time, it is the ship itself….
Pub Sign: Some observations by Keith Rodger
Salisbury Museum has a recently added sign on exhibition advertising a pub called “The Ship”. The sign, which unsurprisingly depicts a ship, is hanging in the corridor leading to the Café. It is supposed to date from the 17th Century and the form of the ship would seem to be consistent with that date.
The ship is shown to carry 60 guns as it main armament. The shape of the hull and sail plan are typical of the 17th Century. Because inter-ship fighting was predominantly by boarding until the 16th Century, Tudor warships (Carracks) had high fore and stern castles. As guns became more widely adopted, the forecastles became redundant and they were reduced in height to improve ship handling. This development lead to the Galleon with a high stern castle and almost no forecastle. During the 17th Century, as manoeuvring increased in importance, the stern castle was also lowered reducing the windage and improving the handling further. At about this time the tactic of ships fighting in lines developed leading to the development of the line of battle ship. Such a ship is shown in our pub sign. The blue ensign flown by our ship does not show the saltire of Scotland, which is also consistent with a date in the 17th Century prior to the unification of Scotland with England.
During the reign of Elizabeth I (1558 – 1603) the English fleet became too large to be managed effectively by one admiral. To facilitate command and control, the fleet was divided into the Red, Blue and White squadrons each under its own admiral, with the red being the most senior and the white the most junior. For the abortive attack on Cadiz, the English fleet had four squadrons. The central squadron was commanded by the Lord High Admiral (Lord Howard) who flew a plain red flag. The admiral commanding the leading formation (the van) flew a blue flag and the rear most flew a white flag. The fourth squadron transported the soldiers for the actual attack and its flag is irrelevant here.
Later the naval ranks of Admiral, Vice Admiral and Rear Admiral were derived from this arrangement. The admiral’s personal flag was flown from the main mast of his ship, the “Flag ship” and its form varied over time. Ships flew flags corresponding to that or their commanding officer, these became the red, blue, and white ensigns we have today. Over time, the seniorities associated with the colours changed so we cannot tell the seniority of the blue admiral at the time the pub sign was made. Furthermore, by this time, each squadron had an admiral, vice admiral and rear admiral.
Ranks of admiral in the Royal navy are not easy to understand but make sense in terms of the three squadrons that comprised the fleet. Nelson’s promotions are an example: first he was made a rear Admiral of the blue, the lowest admiral, then he was promoted to Vice Admiral of the Blue and then, at sea on his way to Trafalgar, he was promoted to Vice Admiral of the White. In the middle of the 19th Century, the colours were removed from the rankings and the ensigns given their current meaning, ie white for the Royal navy, Red for the Mercantile marine and blue for the Royal Navy Fleet Auxiliaries. Ensigns defaced by having some device added to the blue or red areas are used by a number of privileged organisations such as Trinity House, which has four galleons on a red ensign or the Metropolitan Police Force (MPF), which has a blue ensign defaced with the badge of the MPF.
Next time you are in the back corridor, have a look at the pub sign. Have I missed something? I did not see an admiral’s personal flag flying but I will certainly look more carefully next time. It would have been flown on the main mast; its form would depend on the year and might date the picture more closely.
At least half a dozen things I never knew here! Thank you Keith!
Keith has long since sent an amendment to his original account: “I got my ensigns in a furl. The “Blue Ensign” at the stern should not be showing the Red Cross of St Patrick in the 17th Century. So I fear one can not use the ensign to date the picture.”
Death of the Stonehenge Archer: A discussion by Keith Rodger
The skeleton of a Neolithic or early Bronze Age man, dated to about 2300 BC, of about 25 years of age, was found buried in the ditch surrounding Stonehenge. He is known as the “Stonehenge Archer” because of where he was buried and he was buried with a stone bracer. His grave had been significantly disturbed by animals; neither one fibula (the lesser shinbone), nor his feet were found. Otherwise, the skeleton was in good condition.
He had been shot to death with arrows; three stone arrowheads were found in the region of his chest and witness marks on his bones testify to a fourth arrow. It is possible that he was hit by more arrows that have not left marks on the bones. None of his wounds was to his front.
Of the four arrows, two did not penetrate his ribs. This is consistent with them being shot at long range and may have been the first hits. Although not immediately mortal, these wounds are likely to have reduced his mobility, which may have permitted his assailants to close the range. A third arrow passed between two ribs but the depth of penetration is not known. The fourth and presumably final arrow entered the victim’s back and passed through the top of the heart or its major blood vessels; this would have been quickly fatal.
In the following I discuss reasons for his killing, which is by no means unique, and choice of burial site, which is. Five possible reasons have been proposed for his killing: viz sacrifice, ritual murder, execution, warfare and fracas. The discussion will be guided by “Occam’s razor” that one should not elaborate assumption beyond necessity.
The first three are, in their own ways, rituals and should therefore have been repeated. However, this case seems to be unique in that only one such burial has been found in the ditch around Stonehenge. Of course, there may be or have been others that are undiscovered but, using the ‘razor’, we should not assume evidence that we do not have. On that basis, these will be discussed no further.
Warfare also seems unlikely. If he had been an attacker, surely he would have been left to rot on the plain or even mutilated. Had he been a defender, he would have been among the glorious dead and given a more elaborate funeral. Of course, it is possible that burial in the ditch was some kind of ritual that was appropriate for a killed enemy on the one hand or a gallant defender on the other. (See note 1 below) Once again, the ‘razor’ suggest that we should discount both since they need additional assumptions.
This leaves fracas. Assuming a fight between local men, there may have been good reason for hiding the corpse and burial is an obvious choice. However, Salisbury plain consists of a thin covering of turf on chalk and a newly dug grave would leave an obvious white patch. The ditch around Stonehenge at that time however would have been white and a newly dug grave less obvious. Perhaps that is why he was put there. His missing feet and fibula seem to have disappeared after burial rather than removed as part of the burial rites, eg to stop his corpse walking and haunting his killers. These losses might be due to animals, in which case birds removing partly fleshed bones from the surface would seem to be the most likely since mammals would have dug for more, or they could have been lost by erosion. Either explanation would suggest a rather shallow grave so that the bones became exposed, consistent with the hypothesis of fracas. Otherwise, they may have been broken up during the grave’s disturbance by animals and decayed. The distribution of his known injuries is consistent with an ambush and pursuit.
As Sherlock Holmes should have said, “Eliminate the possible and what is left ought to be the most plausible.”. Five possible scenari have been considered and four rejected via Occam’s razor, leaving the fifth, fracas, as the most plausible but not necessarily correct scenario: readers and visitors should make up their own explanation. I hope mine will provoke thought, provide other ‘Engagement Volunteers” with useful ideas and that William of Occam has not become giddy rotating in his grave.
Note 1 It has been suggested that he did receive an elaborate funeral, gave goods consisting of the arrow heads that killed him and the bracer that he was (presumably) wearing do not suggest an elaborate funeral to me; rather more a disposal with minimum fuss.
Note 2 It is interesting to point out how technology has improved. Initially carbon dating of the corpse required the whole of his left femur (thighbone) was destroyed to yield sufficient carbon for analysis. Later a small hole was drilled in the right femur to provide sufficient material for a more precise date. The left femur is a replica, as can be seen from the difference in colour.
I have written before about how I find it astonishing the extent to which my previous careers as a research scientist and science (chemistry) teacher interdigitate with my post-retirement role as an Engagement Volunteer here at the museum.
Such an occasion occurred again a fortnight ago as I was attending the Salisbury Playhouse production of ‘Breaking The Code’, concerning the life and work of the codebreaker, Alan Turing. I attended this out of interest following a recent visit to Bletchley Park with Sarum U3A. Also, last year, whilst on a P&O cruise to the Baltic, I attended a series of five ship-board lectures on Bletchley Park (or ‘Station X’ ) by a guest speaker who is a Guide there.
Partway through the second half of the play it was mentioned
that Turing’s colleague at Bletchley Park, Dillwyn Knox (‘Dilly’) had had a
homosexual relationship with the author and biographer, Lytton Strachey. As a
scientist, I’d never heard of Lytton Strachey until his portrait was exhibited
in the ‘Henry Lamb – Out of the Shadows’ exhibition at Salisbury Museum last
year. This left me wondering how Dilly Knox had come to meet Lytton Strachey.
‘Google’ helped me
out by informing me that he was the brother of the crypotographer, Oliver
Strachey. Oliver Strachey had been in the Government Code and Cypher School between
the Wars and in 1934, together with Hugh Foss, he broke the Japanese naval
attaché machine cipher. In
World War II, he was at Bletchley Park,
heading the ISOS section deciphering various messages on the Abwehr
network involved with turned German agents (part of the Double Cross system).
Another such occasion occurred last week when I was fortunate enough to be ‘on shift’ when one gallery of the current ‘Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize’ exhibition opened a day early. Immediately facing one as one walks in is a vivid blue drawing entitled ‘Ghost Nets’ (Frances Gynn, 2019). Although I’d never heard the phrase ‘ghost nets’ before, I immediately perceived these as fishing nets which could entrap marine species. Later that week I was watching the BBC1 TV ‘Countryfile’ programme, which contained a lengthy section on marine plastic pollution – including ghost nets. These are indeed fishing nets which have been discarded or lost in the ocean by fishermen. They are often nearly invisible in the dim light and can be left tangled on a rocky reef or drifting in the open sea. These can trap fish which die, thus attracting scavengers which will also get entangled, thus creating an escalating problem. Lost fishing gear, or so called ‘ghost gear’, is now among the greatest killers in our oceans.
Fig 1. Ghost Nets ((Frances Gynn, 2019))
In this same exhibition I was particularly attracted to ‘Love Hurts’ by Fiona G. Roberts. This depicts 147 women who had been killed (murdered) by their partners during the 12 months of 2018. Their faces appear as pictograms in a horizontal bar graph for each of the 12 months. Thus one can see that 13 women were killed in January. The joint most number of women (16) were killed in the months of May and August. One can see that these women are of different ethnicities, colour, religion (i.e. one is wearing a muslim head-dress), one is wearing spectacles… So, the scientist in me wants to sub-categorise these to find out if one particular type of women falls victim in any particular month or season… . For me, this made a link with a current major BBC Radio 4 series called ‘The Art of Innovation’ which explores the overlaps between the sciences and the arts. As was said during one such episode, “Both science and art need imagination to move forward. As the sciences become more theoretical and conceptual, art explores scientific thinking in areas that exceeds the limits of what we can perceive”
Alan has sent us this, with reference to last week’s blog about the mystery box:
I thought readers would be interested in what the Britford Church information leaflet says about the Duke of Buckingham’s tomb. I’m also attaching a photograph of the tomb in Britford Church.
“Tomb purporting to be that of Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, at St Peter’s Church, Britford. The coffin is shorter than normal because the body’s head is on its chest.
The Buckingham tomb against the north wall of the chancel has been held to be that of Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, who was executed by King Richard in Blue Boar Row, Salisbury, in 1483, but there are difficulties in accepting this. The tomb appears to be of an earlier style, the mouldings, finials and crockets are of a period earlier than that of the Duke of Buckingham; but the Purbeck marble slab could well be of his time. The heraldry is inconclusive. One of the shields carries the arms of the Stafford family. But it is still possible to make out a case for its being Buckingham’s tomb. He is known to have been buried at Greyfriars in Salisbury and may have been put in an old tomb chest. Both the tomb and the arch above it must have been removed at the Reformation to Britford.. The arch is not part of tomb, but may have belonged to an Easter Sepulchre. The Latin inscription was placed over the tomb by Sir Richard Hoare in 1830. the figures in the niches of the tomb are from the east.”
But is this tomb empty, as has been suggested by some? And if Buckingham is elsewhere, who was the headless man of the Blue Boar? The mystery continues….