SOM-C25BC5: Medieval prick spur

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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Unique ID: SOM-C25BC5

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

An incomplete cast copper-alloy elaborately decorated Medieval prick spur c.AD 1050-1300.

The spur remains as the goad, neck and the curved end of the side arms by the neck. The terminals and most of the sides are missing to old breaks

The goad is bi-pyramidal in form and square in cross section with those sides that taper to form the point much longer and concave. It is c. 24mm long, 18.9mm wide and 17.0mm thick. Each of the eight faces of the goad is decorated by incised lines set 1mm from the edge of each face that follow the shape of their surface. These lines have ndented dots placed every 1mm along their length. The sharp point is slightly damaged.

The neck projects 30.6mm at sharp angle downwards from the back of the spur. It is sub-oval in cross section with a maximum thickness of 10.9mm and has slight ridges marking its upper and lower corners. Midway between the ridges, on both the left and right side of the neck, are incised lines running down the neck parallel with the facets again decorated with regularly spaced dots. The sides are also decorated with dots arranged so as to form three circle motifs on each side. The last circle meets the side arms and is thus incomplete.

Little of the side arms remains. The sections that survive are traingular in cross section with rounded corners and form a rounded apex to which the goad's neck is attached. There is slight raised ridges at the joint between the neck and sides on the outer two faces. The upper surface, which would have say adjacent to the foot, is plain. The other two are decorated by impressed dots arranged in semi-circle, one on each face on each side of the neck and incised lines that traces this shape as well as line and dots that trace the upper and lower edges.

The spur is party covered by a dark red brown patina with patches of green. The spur would have originally been gilted and some of this remains across all parts of the spur, most notably in the incised and impressed decoration, picking it out and making it more visible, and in the junction of the neck and sides.

The object is66.4mm long, 31.1mm wide, 16.7mm and weighs 39.0 grams.

The Bi-pyramidal goad seems to come in during the 11th century on straight Anglo Scandinavian spurs. The shape and angle of the spur is very similar to an iron spur found at the Coppergate excavations in York, which is dated to the 10th-11th centuries (Ottaway 1992, Fig 304, no 3834). Ellis (2002:6) also illustrates several examples with similar long necks, square goads and curved sides (no.15-18) ranging in date from c.AD 1100 to 1300. Unfortunately, the sides and terminals of the spur, which are useful in dating this form of artefact (Ellis 2002, 4) has been lost such that it is not possible to confidently provide a tight period of use.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: Include in MedArch

Class: prick

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Late
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1050
Date to: Circa AD 1300

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 66.4 mm
Width: 31.1 mm
Thickness: 16.7 mm
Weight: 39 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 7th October 2018 - Monday 7th January 2019

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Edward Caswell
Identified by: Mr Edward Caswell
Secondary identifier: Ms Laura Burnett

Other reference numbers

Other reference: SCC Receipt 017848

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Fragment
Surface Treatment: Gilded

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: West Knoyle (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: ST8433
Four figure Latitude: 51.09608065
Four figure longitude: -2.22986222
1:25K map: ST8433
1:10K map: ST83SW
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SOM
Created: 4 months ago
Updated: 3 months ago

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