Anglo-Saxon CSI: Sittingbourne

October 27, 2010, 8:48 pm
Filed under: Conservation, Grave Objects

Knife before treatment

This iron knife from grave 168 has been cleaned by volunteer Shirley.  The grave was that of a male and other finds included a shield boss with fittings and a second knife.

Although quite a small find, the object has presented several areas of interest for the volunteers, conservators and archaeologists.

As mentioned in other posts on this blog, there was very little bone found due to the high acidity of the soil.  In some cases volunteers have managed to find evidence of bone attached to some objects and this find is one such case where this has occurred.

The thumbprint in the knife discovered during conservation

Extensive areas of bug pupae cases were also found during the investigative conservation process of this object.  If identified, this evidence may help determine what time of the year the person died and the grave was made.

Yellow-coloured patches uncovered in the soil suggests the presence of leather, perhaps a sheath or handle for the knife or maybe even an item of clothing that was in close contact with the object.

However, perhaps the most exciting evidence found on this object is the possible fingerprints of the man preserved in the corrosion products.  The presence of such evidence suggests that the knife was being held by the person within the burial.

For anyone not familiar with conservation and the importance of carrying out such work on objects like this only need to take a look at an object such as this.  What might seem a fairly standard and pretty uninteresting object on the face of things has proved to be an extremely valuable and interesting object that has given us a great deal of interesting information.

This type of object is also a small find that might otherwise not have been worked on.  As the volunteers and conservators involved in CSI: Sittingbourne are working on nearly all the finds from the graves there is a greater ability to understand and work on these finds to find out even more information than would be possible in other circumstances.  This is an excellent aspect of this project

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