Love is in the air at PAS

Today is Valentine’s Day and our Finds Liaison Officers have been busy highlighting love-themed objects from the Portable Antiquities Scheme database. Be sure to check them out on Twitter! In the meantime, here are a few more objects that demonstrate the range of subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways people in the past have professed their love. …more

Festive Finds: PAS Christmas Countdown #12

The Nativity The story of the Nativity has been represented in many different formats throughout history.The Virgin Mary and child have been depicted in paintings, sculpture and even on more functional objects. It is a story that is known to all across the Christian world and many more beyond that. It’s no surprise that scenes from the …more

Festive Finds: PAS Christmas Countdown #11

Reliquary During the Medieval period life was governed by the Church and Bible. Everything you did during your earthly life would impact your soul after death and decide if you went to heaven or hell and how long you would spend in purgatory. A part of this highly religious life was the idea of pilgrimage, …more

Festive Finds: PAS Christmas Countdown #10

Modern Day Santa Claus In modern day Western society Father Christmas is instantly recognisable, by his red and white clothes, white beard and sleigh full of presents. He is an image of Christmas spirit, goodwill to all men and for children a magical man who gives them gifts. How did this version of Santa Claus …more

Festive Finds: PAS Christmas Countdown #9

Origins of Saint Nicholas The jolly man in the red and white who brings children presents every Christmas Eve in his sleigh pulled by reindeer is the result of hundreds of years of stories, legends, tradition and marketing campaigns. The ‘real’ Father Christmas hasn’t been completely forgotten, with popular culture even referring to him as …more

Festive Finds: PAS Christmas Countdown #8

Krampus It has to be remembered that Christmas is not only about the children who are rewarded for being nice. Many countries have stories to encourage all children to be well behaved in the build up to Christmas. In some countries they are told that they will receive something instead of presents, such as coal, or even worse …more

Festive Finds: PAS Christmas Countdown #7

Twelve Days of Christmas A popular song at this time of year is “The twelve days of Christmas”. The song was first recorded in English in AD1780 in a book entitled “mirth without mischief”, which was aimed at children as a sort of memory game.  The twelve days relate to the days after Christmas day, …more

Festive Finds: PAS Christmas Countdown #6

Christmas Trees A popular image associated with Christmas today is the Christmas tree. Believed to have derived from a pre-Christian practice of bringing evergreen boughs indoors during the winter season as a symbol of everlasting life, the tree has become a staple of most Western households at Christmas. Prince Albert has been credited with introducing …more

Festive Finds: PAS Christmas Countdown #5

Boy Bishop Tokens The idea of boy bishops was a tradition that was popular in Western Europe during the medieval period but reached its height during the 16th century, continuing in some places until the 19th century. The custom of the Boy Bishop originated from Saint Nicholas due to his appointed as the Bishop of …more

Festive Finds: PAS Christmas Countdown #4

Sleigh Bells Sledges and sleighs of various types have been used through history in the colder parts of the world. Whether to transport goods or people, their association with snow and winter has made them a frequent feature on festive scenes for Christmas cards and paintings. Attaching bells to sleighs has occurred throughout history for …more