Metalworking

Creating useful or decorative items in metal

Staffordshire Hoard teaches lesson in Anglo-Saxon metallurgy

Gold was believed to have magical powers in Anglo-Saxon society, which may have led to discovery of special processes to make the metal appear "more golden than gold." These findings are part of a new study of the Staffordshire Hoard which "showed goldsmiths knew how to remove alloyed metals such as copper and silver from the surface of objects."

"One of the most important Viking hoards ever found in Scotland" unearthed near Dumfriesshire

September 2014 was a great month for British metal detector enthusiast Derek McLennan. The retired businessman discovered "one of the most important Viking hoards ever found in Scotland" in a field in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. (photos)

Large gold medallion centerpiece of new exhibit at the Israel Museum

An "exceptional" gold medallion, found in 2013 at the base of the Temple Mount, will be showcased as part of a new exhibit at the Israel museum. Dating to the 7th century, the large golden medallion, embossed with Jewish motifs, is believed to have decorated a Torah scroll. (photo)

Considering the cockerel

The Romans considered the cockerel a messenger to the god Mercury, and the rooster was often depicted at the feet of the god. In Britain's Roman Cirencester, a rare and beautiful example of the cockerel was found in the grave of a child. Cotswold Archaeology features an in-depth look at the artifact on their website. (photos)

Viking silver found in Scotland

Retired Ayrshire businessman Derek McLennan has made good use of his metal detector. In 2013, he discovered Scotland's biggest haul of medieval silver coins. Now he has unearthed a new hoard of more than 100 items, including a 9th century Christian cross and possibly the largest silver Carolingian pot ever discovered. (photos and video)

Honoring the "standing cup"

Like their modern counterparts, medieval people enjoyed entertaining guests, often with their best utensils. Naomi Speakman, curator for the British Museum's Late Medieval Collection, salutes the museum's newest acquisition, the Lacock Cup, in a feature article on the museum blog. (photos)

Tools help identify Viking blacksmith grave

Leif Arne Norberg, of Sogndalsdalen, Norway, certainly didn't expect to find treasure when he moved some stone slabs in his garden revealing what is believed to be the grave of a Viking blacksmith. (photo)

Anglo Saxon buckle declared rare find

Archaeologists in Suffolk, England are pondering the discovery of a silver buckle, dating to the 9th century, by a metal detectorist on a Suffolk farm. "The costumes worn at this time don't appear to need buckles and so they are rarely found," said Dr Helen Geake, from the Portable Antiquities Scheme. (photo)

Leiston Abbey dig reveals gaming piece and curse tablet

Leiston Abbey in the 14th century must have been an interesting place, considering some artifacts found by volunteers during a two-week archaeological excavation in the summer of 2014, including a Nuremburg jetton "poker chip" and a metal tablet expected to contain a curse. (photos)

SCAdian Nick Marcelja turns hobby into business

In an installment of the The Columbian (Vancouver, Washington) series Working in Clark County, news assistant Mary Ricks interviewed blacksmith and SCA member Nick Marcelja, who turned his hobby into a business.

"Tally-ho" seal brings smiles in Lufton

Lufton, England has been the site of settlement from the Iron Age to the present, but archaeologists working on the Roman era of the town were amused to discover a wax seal from the Middle Ages, decorated with a light-hearted hunting scene. (photo)

Treasures of Scotland revealed

2013 was a "magnificent" year for archaeologists in Scotland. The recent annual Scottish Treasure Trove report, covering 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014, by Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer (QLTR) Catherine Dyer shows a variety of items including gold jewelry, coins and a Roman wine dipper. (photos)

Decoding Anglo-Saxon art

People have long admired the beautiful Anglo-Saxon artifacts found in the burial mounds of Sutton Hoo, but few understand the symbols embedded within the metal. Rosie Weetch, a curator at the British Museum, offers an illuminating primer on how to decode the symbols and stories in a piece of Anglo-Saxon metalwork on the British Museum blog. (photos and diagrams)

14th century lead bulla found in Polish castle

Archaeological excavations at Człuchów castle in Poland have unearthed a 14th century lead bulla of Pope Gregory XI, a seal used to authenticate documents. The bulla is believed to have originated during the Teutonic Order's crusade against pagan Lithuania.

Norfolk "Q-tip" declared treasure

Everyday toilet implements, such as an ear scoop found by a metal detectorist, were among the recently-declared treasures in King's Lynn, Norfolk, England. Also discussed was an early Anglo-Saxon "gold and garnet cloisonné circular domed object." (photos)

St. Sabas seal found in Jerusalem

St. Sabas, a leader of the monastic movement, was a very important person in Jerusalem during the Middle Ages. Recently a lead seal, bearing his image and dating to the 13th century, was discovered during an archaeological dig in the Bayit Vegan neighborhood of Jerusalem. (photo)

"Incredibly significant" bishop's seal declared treasure

Metal detector enthusiast Andy Falconer has found a few artifacts over the years but nothing like the 14th century, silver bishop's seal, called "incredibly significant" by Manx National Heritage, he found recently in a field on the Isle of Man. (photo)

Master Ark's Jewellery

Master Ark has been creating authentic Medieval jewelry for over 25 years. His cloak clasps, pennanular brooches, fibulas, Thor's hammers, brooches, and pendants are worn throughout the Known World.

You can now keep current with what Master Ark is doing by following his Facebook page.

Getty art books for download

Silfren, from the Kingdom of Lochac, reports that the Getty Publications Archives is offering free digital backlist titles for download. Items available include exhibition catalogs and symposium papers as well as art books.

Tournaments Illuminated Quest Request April 2014

Magister Riordan MacGregor, editor of Tournaments Illuminated, has announced the latest Quest Request.

Illegal metal detectorist tears Roman gold from ground in Germany

Investigators in Germany are untangling the case of a metal detectorist who illegally dug up more than EU€1 million worth of Roman gold in a forest in southern Rheinland-Pfalz. The perpetrator may already have sold some of the pieces on the Black Market. (photos)

Metallurgy conference to focus on personal adornment

The Historical Metallurgy Society AGM will hold its annual conference May 31 - June 1, 2014 at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, England. The them of this year's conference will be Metals used in Personal Adornment.

Little hook protector of 16th century fashion

What could be worse than dragging your elegant skirts through the muck on the streets? Nothing, apparently, as revealed by the discovery of a 20mm (0.8 inch) long gold hook designed to hold up ladies' skirts when crossing a muddy yard. (photo)

BM's Sutton Hoo gallery receives facelift

Room 41 of the British Museum has received a facelift in order to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the discovery of the Sutton Hoo ship burial. The room, which houses the museum's early medieval collections, was refurbished with new flooring, roof and internal architecture renovation thanks to a gift from Sir Paul and Lady Jill Ruddock.

Weights important tool in Viking trade

Much of the trade during the Viking Age was international in nature, leading merchants to depend on the balance weight scale and its weights as an important tool. In Ireland, these weights were often made of small, decorative items, apparently broken off of larger objects, usually from churches or monasteries.

Medieval handbell re-created

Archaeologists know what early medieval handbells looked like from the "rusty shadows in the museum case" that still exist, but not what these bells sounded like. Now a team of experts from the National Museum of Scotland has re-created such a bell, "used by Scottish monks more than 1,000 years ago." (photo)

Ancient horseshoe found stuck in a rut

Potholes may be a modern annoyance, but the recent discovery of a Roman horseshoe stuck in a rut shows that the problem is ages old. The 2000-year-old show was discovered recently under Liverpool Street in London. (photo)

Making iron at WW

Lord Gerald Loosehelm, of the Barony of Jararvellir in Northshield, reports that he has posted a number of videos on iron smelting from the recent Warriors and Warlords event. The videos are available to view on YouTube.

Troy, Ohio to host blacksmithing symposiums

From September 27-29, 2013, Southern Ohio Forige & Anvil will present one of the largest metal-art events in the United States. Quadstate 2013 will take place at the Miami County Fairgrounds in Troy, Ohio, and will feature a wide range of classes and a swap meet.

Stone priory seal restoration complete

In 2011, English metal detector enthusiast Tont Burke found a treasure in a Survey field with the discovery of a copper 12th Century seal matrix of Stone Priory, bearing the image of the Virgin and Child. Now, fully restored, the seal is returning to St Michael and St Wulfad's church in Stone. (photo)