St Thomas Guild has a nice write-up on making 13th century seven sided dice for use with a number of games the Book of Alfonso X the Wise. There method for making the spots is quite different from mine, but may work better for some of you. I may have to redo that post some time.
Finally. Here’s the long promised skeletal materials gallery from our NMS photos. Leather finds photos are in another post, and I’ve already done the leatherworker’s toolkit elsewhere. Click on the photos in the gallery them to ennoble if you want a closer view.
The full set of photos contain lots of stone and metalworking as well.
Stone, bronze and iron age
Broxmouth, Burgar, Hillswick, Howmae, Newstead and Thrumster, 200BC-AD400
Bone, metal and wooden British leatherworking tools. Awls from Ruberslaw, Burrian, Druimvargie Cave, Foshigarry, Knop of Howar, MacArthur Cave, Skara Brae, Torran Dubh, Buiston and Newstead. 8500BC-900AD
Needles from Hillhead, West Grange of Conon and Laws of Monifieth. 300BC-800AD.
I think this little fellow is walrus ivory, a game piece in the shape of a cowled figure from Mail in the Orkneys, AD750-800. He looks similar to the hooded figures shown on the Pictish standing stones of the period.
Knight from the Isle of Lewis chess set. This one’s a token effort. I’ll cover all the pieces in another post as I’ve been chasing them around the various musea that have them. Walrus Ivory, found in Uig, Lewis in 1831. Other pieces are in the British Museum. H.NS19023, H.NS 25-9.
I’m about half way through the photos from the National Museum of Scotland, it takes a while to sort 800-odd pictures. I couldn’t resist the temptation to share this one. It’s a leather worker’s toolkit, dated from between AD650 and 950 * from Evie, Orkney.
The box is made from a single piece of timber, hollowed out so there’s no joint in the base for the heavy tools to push out. Some of the tinder boxes from the Mary Rose (82A0070, 81A1718, 81A3874 and 81A 5922) are done the same way, although in the latter case to keep moisture out of the tinder.
Carving on the back of the tool box.
Tool handles. The metal blades have obviously corroded, but many can be inferred from the handle shapes.
Pumice, antler and leather thong. I wonder if the antler is an edge slicker?
The original can be seen in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
* An earlier version of this post had incorrect dates of 550-850 for the finds.
The York Archaeological Trust have produced some excellent works over the years and have lately taken to publishing on-line as well as paper. In a move that’s making the fatted calves look somewhat nervous, they’ve now made some of their out-of-print fascules available as PDF files. The third one in the list is The Archaeology of York 17/16 Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York by Quita Mould, Ian Carlisle and Esther Cameron.
Grab some of the others while you’re at it, there’s horn and bone projects in them for you to try.
I’m busily downloading my copy, the server is a little slow, running only a few K per second, so be patient. I’m getting a faster download using IE8 than I did with Chrome, so try a different browser if it seems too slow or unreliable.
My thanks to Glenda and Jenny for pointing this page out to me.