LEIC-EEF651: EEF651a anglo-scandinavian object

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
CC License:


Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
CC License:

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
CC License:

Rights Holder: Dominic Andrews
CC License:

Rights Holder:
CC License:

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PRICK SPUR

Unique ID: LEIC-EEF651

Object type certainty: Probably
Workflow status: Published Find published

Early medieval (Scandinavian) copper-alloy object, about 60mm long, 40mm high and 20mm wide. The object is in good condition with a brown patina. It consists of a circular-sectioned shaft which tapers to a point. About 10mm from the rear (blunt) end of the shaft is an area of decoration, 20mm wide, enclosed by raised vertical bands. Within this are two diagonal crossing bands formed of three raised lines. Where they intersect there is a circular protrusion, 3mm in diameter, which is copied in each corner. This decoration is identical on each side of the object and continues underneath.

Emerging from this decoration is a crude human figure who is circular in cross-section and wearing a pointed helmet. He has large outstretched arms with oversized hands; the right carries a drinking horn, and the left is empty but has a curved inner surface. In front of the figure, beneath the curved left hand, is a circular hollow; the hollow and the curved hand may have held a separate component.

About 10mm in front of the figure, a stylised animal's head (horse or dog?) emerges from the shaft, and stands 15mm high with his neck straining forwards. He has small pointed ears and his face is divided into two by a raised vertical line with a small round eye on either side. About 8mm in front of the horse is a raised band, and from this point the object tapers to a point.

The object has no obvious breaks or signs of fixing it to anything, and its purpose is unknown; it may possibly be a long goad from a prick spur with a horse-and-rider motif. Stylistically it belongs to the Viking Age, perhaps the 11th century.

A very similar figurine, but lacking the animal figure in front, was been found in Seehausen (Kr. Börde) in Germany in 2004, and is now in the Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte, Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt. It is made from copper alloy with an iron core, and has also been suggested as a spur goad. A link to 10th- to 12th-century Slavic four-faced god figurines holding drinking horns has been pointed out (e.g. one from Zbrucz, Ukraine) and the Seehausen figure has been published as a blog (A. Muhl, http://www.lda-lsa.de/de/landesmuseum_fuer_vorgeschichte/fund_des_monats/2009/dezember/) and in catalogue form (Stiegemann et al. (2013, 581-582; fig. 521) - Vol. II of the Credo exhibition books.

This item has been published in Medieval Archaeology (Scott in Geake 2007, 219-229; fig. 3a), and in Hammond (2013, 50; fig. 1.6-c).

The object features in this article p.131-5. https://www.academia.edu/34888804/Orakeltrunk_oder_Walk%C3%BCrengru%C3%9F_Eine_Hand_mit_Trinkhorn_aus_Gro%C3%9F-Str%C3%B6mkendorf_Lkr._Nordwestmecklenburg._Materialy_Zachdoniepomorskie_Nowa_seria_XII_2015_227-238

English Summary - Field prospections with metal detectors carried out recently in Mecklenburg- Vorpommern area provided a considerable number of interesting early medieval artefacts. One of them is a figurine fragment made of non-ferrous metal with hand holding drinking horn, found in 2013 in Groß-Strömkendorf, in the Middle Ages an important sea trade centre. The decoration in the form of net, the figure's dress details (necklace, bracelets, headwear) and the find's context allow to date the fnd to the 8th-9th century. This unique object meets an exact analogy in bronze figurine, discovered in 2009 in Seehausen, Lkr. Börde (Saxony-Anhalt) as well as Cotes/Chranwood (England). These figurines are considered decorative spurs' pricks. Researchers point to their relationship with Slavic, Carolingian or Nordic-Viking cultural circle.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder

Chronology

Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Late
Period from: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Period to: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Ascribed Culture: Viking
Date from: Exactly AD 700
Date to: Circa AD 950

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 60 mm
Width: 40 mm
Thickness: 20 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Saturday 1st January 2005 - Friday 31st March 2006

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Wendy Scott
Identified by: Wendy Scott

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy

Spatial metadata

Region: East Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Leicestershire (County)
District: Charnwood (District)
To be known as: Charnwood

Spatial coordinates


Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: LEIC
Created: 12 years ago
Updated: 3 months ago

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