SOM-4A3091: Late Medieval purse bar

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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Unique ID: SOM-4A3091

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

Half of a Medieval copper-alloy purse bar probably dating to c. AD 1450-1500.

The artefact consists of one arm and the central boss of the purse bar. The central boss is cylindrical being 11.4mm with a diameter of 14.7mm. A central longitudinal hole with a diameter of 6.0mm passes through the centre of boss to accommodate a copper alloy swivel, now lost.

Projecting from one side of the boss is one arm of the purse bar, the other arm being lost to a very worn break at the boss' edge.

The central bar is cylindrical with a diameter of 9.5mm and projects for 68.1mm from the boss. This bar has the remains of a single flat tab, c.34.1mm in length, projecting from its bottom. This tab has been broken such that it now only survives as a series of linear projections of no more than 2.0mm in height divided by three semi-circular slots. These would have originally have been circular piercings through the tab and is where the bag would have been attached.

The termination of the bar is marked by a narrowed point that likely represents all that remains of a narrow projection to hold the end of the purse frame. The bar is decorated with a double strand lattice pattern inlaid with niello.

The object is mostly covered in a thick dark green patination layer which has been chipped away in parts revealing a light green core.

Overall the artefact is 83.7mm long, 11.4mm thick and weighs 33.39g.

This fragment would have been one of two arms, which emerge from the central boss, both of which may have been decorated with animal heads. Purse bars with niello inlaid decoration and zoomorphic mouldings at the sides of the central block are classified by Ward-Perkins as his type A1 (1940, 164-165) probably dating to c. AD 1450-1500.

Class: bar
Sub class: Williams Class A1

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1450
Date to: Circa AD 1500

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 83.7 mm
Thickness: 11.4 mm
Weight: 33.39 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Saturday 1st December 2018 - Friday 1st March 2019

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Edward Caswell
Identified by: Mr Edward Caswell

Other reference numbers

Other reference: SCC Receipt 018335

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Incomplete
Surface Treatment: Inlaid with niello

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Bath and North East Somerset (Unitary Authority)
District: Bath and North East Somerset (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Shoscombe CP

Spatial coordinates

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

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SOM
Created: 2 months ago
Updated: About one month ago

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