pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
pearl ([personal profile] pearl) wrote2010-07-11 09:58 am
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Sealskin and a belt buckle...

Remember the very exciting Viking graveyard from Cumwhitton? The one with the very vague description of:

"The female burial to the east, sk 27, was accompanied by inter alia a collection of beads, a jet ring, a copper alloy object and various iron objects, concentrated in the head area , together with a magnificent jet bracelet , which would have gone round the left wrist, and a copper alloy belt fitting around the waist."

Yes? After e-mailing Oxford Archaeology late last year about it, they said that there were remains of seal skin attached to a buckle in sk 27. Very cool. Since then, I found a short article about the Cumwhitton finds, but it's been put online, too. So you can all enjoy the colour photos of bits of a buckle, seal skin, and the enigmatic description of "a sealskin garment that was fastened by a highly decorated copper alloy buckle."

Watson, J. Hollow Swords and Needles in a Soil Block: Unravelling the Evidence Preserved on the Artefacts from the Viking Cemetery at Cumwhitton, Cumbria. English Heritage Research News 13 (2009-10):14-16.

There's a big, green 'download' button on the left.

I'm hopefully going to get a peek, today, at:
Simpson, F. 2009. Cumwhitton Norse Burial. In S. Thomas and P. Stone (eds.) Metal Detecting and Archaeology. Woodbridge: Boydell, pp. 137 - 146.
Last time I went to the library looking for it, in the time in between leaving the house and getting to that shelf, the book had been checked out. :(

Edit: The article focuses, primarily, on the process from a metal detectorist (detective?) finding a brooch, to the archaeologists coming in and digging the place up. The two things that are likely to be more infuriatingly vague to be useful, if I know my readers, are:

p. 139 "...the remains on the back of the [oval] brooches were ionised textiles, indicating that the brooches were attached to clothing, possibly when the people were buried. Second, there was evidence of worm casts, which form only during the decomposition of flesh."

and p. 142, the contents of the chest apparently was "containing: shears, jet arm ring, beads, needles, ring, lock component, riveted hinge, small hammer." So I'm not sure it would be classes as a sewing box per se.

Incidentally, sk 27 seems to be listed as an uncertain gender here (I'm assuming this is based off the grave goods, since there aren't tortoise brooches to push it into 'female'.) But it contained a Hiberno-Norse type buckle, jet/lignite arm ring and finger ring, shears [x2?], spindle whorl, grass [sic.] beads (x7), mount, copper alloy pendants (x2), bone/antler comb, and a "possible drinking horn mount".