Craft, Industry and Everyday Life: Bone, Antler, Ivory and Horn from Anglo--Scandinavian and Medieval York


list of authors
Arthur MacGregor
A. J. Mainman
Nicola S. H. Rogers
list of contributors
R. A. Hall
S. A. O'Connor
P. Walton Rogers
D. Tweddle
S. Vaughan
Is Part Of
The Archaeology of York [Series]
The Small Finds [Volume]
Council for British Archaeology for York Archaeological Trust
Date Copyrighted
Date Available
Digitally available on 1 September 2023
This report presents bone, antler, ivory and horn manufacturing debris and objects from five locations in the city of York. The date range covered by the assemblage is c.850 to c.1450. The bulk of the material is of Anglo-Scandinavian date (c.850-late 11th century) and was recovered from excavations of well-preserved structures and associated features at 16-22 Coppergate. Medieval material from that site and from the College of the Vicars Choral at The Bedern and the Priory of St Andrew, 46- 54 Fishergate, is also included. The smaller assemblages of post-Roman material from the Coppergate Watching Brief and from 22 Piccadilly produced further comparable material. Taken together, these sites provide a very detailed picture of the production processes and the many uses of bone, antler, ivory and horn over a period of six centuries.

The report includes a brief description of the sites from which the material was recovered. This is followed by a discussion of the conservation techniques used to preserve these assemblages, and of the problems associated with identification of the various materials under discussion.

The rest of the report presents the material in two main sections. The first section, 'Craft and Industry', describes and evaluates the evidence for the production of objects. Most of this evidence is for the manufacture of antler combs during the Anglo- Scandinavian period at 16-22 Coppergate, but there is also evidence that beads were produced at this site, on a much more limited scale. The question of professional as opposed to domestic production is discussed, and the possible location of workshops is described.

The second section, 'Everyday Life', presents the wide range of artefact types which were not necessarily made on the sites under discussion, but which were used on them for a variety of functions. These range from simply modified bone points to personal items which are skilfully decorated. They include motif pieces, gaming pieces, parts of musical instruments, writing equipment, textile making equipment and many other forms.

A third section attempts to bring together general conclusions from the study of this material. The evidence for manufacturing of objects is placed in a wider social and economic context. The differences in composition between the assemblages from the secular sites (Coppergate and Piccadilly) and the ecclesiastical sites (The Bedern and Fishergate) are investigated, and the different cultural influences reflected in the different assemblages is also examined.

A catalogue of all the material recovered from the sites and a provenance concordance completes the report.
Rights Holder
York Archaeological Trust
CC BY 4.0
Portable Document Format (PDF)
Is Format Of
Paper publication
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