Anglo-Saxon CSI: Sittingbourne

March 6, 2010, 3:47 pm
Filed under: Conservation, Grave Objects | Tags: , ,

There were around 29 spearheads uncovered during the excavation at The Meads: these are always found in male graves.  Conservation has presented us with the usual mineral preserved organics on these objects.  Wood is usually found preserved in the socketed ferrule where the spearhead attaches to the wooden shaft, and grass has been discovered on the surface of some suggesting the grave was lined or covered with grass before the person and objects were buried under soil (…although I doubt this was for their comfort).

Gold makers mark on the iron spearhead

This spearhead was discovered in grave 192 and is perhaps a bit more interesting than similar examples.  What differs from the others from this site is the presence of a makers mark inlaid in the iron.  This appeared to be a square with an arrow on the top, and could be clearly seen on the x-ray image so the volunteer working on this object knew that extra care needed to be taken.  The spearhead was cleaned using a scalpel and air abrasion in order to reveal the mark.  The mark looked to be gold: this was later confirmed when CSI: Sittingbourne were able to use a portable XRF (x-ray fluoresence) machine to positively identify the type of metal used.

Drawing of the makers mark present on this spearhead

Hopefully we can find similar examples of this on some of the other objects that are being worked on.  If you want to see what’s going on the CSI: lab is still open for visitors to come and see what is being worked on.  The exhibition opposite is open at the same time so you will be able to see some of the other objects and discuss the site with whoever is in charge.

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The ‘arrow’ is the Tiw/Tyr rune, and represents Tyr/Tiwaz, the god of single combat and combat victory.

Comment by Matt Bunker

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