IOW-9E6EFB: Post-Medieval Jews Harp

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JEWS HARP

Unique ID: IOW-9E6EFB

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

An incomplete and slightly misshapen post-Medieval copper-alloy Jews harp (c. 1500-c. 1800).

The iron prong that was plucked to produce a note is missing.

In plan, it has a circular head and tapering arms both of which are characteristically lozenge-shaped in cross-section. The outer diameter of the head is 31.6mm. At the apex, on the front face, there is a rabbet to accommodate an iron prong, a small portion of which survives. The arms are complete. File marks are visible on both faces.

The surfaces are reddish brown with a light matt green patina and flecks of iron staining.

Length: 80.0mm; width: 31.6mm; thickness: 10.2m. Weight: 37.19g.

Geoff Egan, formerly of The Museum of London has commented on Medieval Jews harps: 'The Jews harp, or trump, is an ancient folk instrument with a wide geographical distribution. It is indigenous to South-east Asia, and was certainly introduced to Europe by the time of the Crusades...The European Jews harp, familiar today, is made of metal, usually iron, and the tongue is a separate component hammered into a rabbet in the thickest part of the frame. At its other end the tongue is bent into a prong, but this rarely survives in archaeological contexts. In play, the instrument is held in one hand and the frame is lightly supported between the player's teeth, while the metal tongue is plucked with the fingers on the other hand. The mouth cavity acts as a resonator and the pitch is modified by the position of the lips, tongue and cheeks' (Egan, G. 1998. 'The Medieval Household Daily Living c. 1150 - c. 1450'. 284. London: The Stationery Office.

Similar examples are illustrated in Bailey, G, 1995, 'Detector Finds 2', 76-77, refs: 4-6. Bailey (page 76) suggests that these examples date to the eighteenth century.

Egan, G. 1998. The Medieval Household Daily Living c.1150-c.1450. Medieval finds from Excavations in London 6. London. Museum of London: The Stationery Office.

Bailey, G. 1995. Detector Finds 2. Greenlight Publishing. Chelmsford.

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Finder
Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder

Chronology

Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL
Subperiod to: Late
Period to: POST MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1500
Date to: Circa AD 1800

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 80 mm
Width: 31.6 mm
Thickness: 10.2 mm
Weight: 37.19 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 19th October 2017 - Thursday 19th October 2017

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Frank Basford
Identified by: Mr Frank Basford

Other reference numbers

Other reference: IOW2017-2-206

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Secondary material: Iron
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Isle of Wight (Unitary Authority)
District: Isle of Wight (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Isle of Wight

Spatial coordinates


Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Current location: Finder
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Operations to a depth greater than 0.25m

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: IOW
Created: About one year ago
Updated: 8 months ago

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