Styli, pencils and parchment-prickers

Introduction A stylus (plural styli) is a writing implement used to scratch letters into the wax of a writing tablet. A pencil makes a coloured mark on wood, paper or parchment. A writing tablet was usually made from wood or bone and had slightly recessed panels filled with wax (see, for example, the early-medieval Blythburgh …more

Book Mounts

Introduction Copper-alloy mounts were often fixed to medieval and post-medieval book covers to decorate and protect the covers. Most are recognised from their convex domed centres, which prevented the leather of the covers from being rubbed and damaged. Surviving domed mounts still in place on books can be in the centre of each cover, at …more

Button and Loop Fasteners

Introduction Button-and-loop fasteners seem to have been multi-purpose, some perhaps for horse-harness (especially the chunkier earlier ones) and some for human clothing (Worrell 2008, 341).  Their core distribution in lowland Scotland and northern England, has been extended southwards by PAS finds, which are now well known from Yorkshire and the Humber, the East and West …more


Introduction As with the mail which preceded it and continued alongside it, most medieval plate armour is hard to recognize. However, convex copper-alloy knuckle plates from gauntlets are identifiable from their arched profile. They also tend to feature a central protrusion at their tops and would have protected the main finger joint, being riveted to …more


Introduction The ‘hornbooks’ we record through the PAS are post-medieval lead-alloy alphabet panels, whose name refers to far larger, and better made, tablets, generally wooden, with or without a handle. True hornbooks had printed text on vellum or paper protected by a thin sheet of transparent horn. These usually showed the alphabet or the Lord’s …more

Monumental Brasses

Introduction Copper-alloy inscriptions were often set into recesses in stone monuments such as gravestones in the form of sheet plates engraved with inscriptions, or as border inscriptions formed of singly cast letters.  Those found were probably removed during the upheavals caused by the Reformation of the early 16th century (Egan 2005, 213).  Letters are earlier, …more