A Lincolnshire-made pilgrim badge?

This week I am working on a rather enigmatic find known as a ‘pilgrim badge’. This particular one was found near Sleaford in Lincolnshire and dates to the 15th century. On one side we can see the crucifixion. In the centre is the crucified Jesus, and on the left is his mother, Mary, who wearsContinue reading “A Lincolnshire-made pilgrim badge?”

The road from Riseholme to Pachacamac

The perfect journey is never finished, the goal is always just across the next river, round the shoulder of the next mountain. There is always one more track to follow, one more mirage to explore. Rosita Forbes. From Red Sea to Blue Nile: a thousand miles of Ethiopia (ed. 1935) A long lane runs from the oldContinue reading “The road from Riseholme to Pachacamac”

Incised coins AD1558-1649

In 2016 a hoard of 1200 post-medieval silver coins were found at Ewerby, Lincolnshire. The coins date to the 16th and 17th centuries and span the reigns of Henry VIII to Charles I. Several coins within the hoard had deep scratches on one or both sides. These scratches took the form of stars, lines, crosses,Continue reading “Incised coins AD1558-1649”

Buying grave goods: have we reached the moral limits of the market?

Artefacts deriving from mortuary contexts form a unique group among the vast numbers of antiquities sold on the market each year. In many cases their sale is legal. But is it ethical, especially when lives (both present and former ones) are at stake? Can dealers and buyers be sure that an object is from anContinue reading “Buying grave goods: have we reached the moral limits of the market?”

Grave Finds

Every year, hundreds of archaeological objects are found by metal detectorists that potentially derive from graves. Owing to the general lack of protection given to grave goods in England, some end up in private collections or on the antiquities trade. I recently completed some research into this, which has just been published as an HistoricContinue reading “Grave Finds”

Venetian coins

In 2009, the British Numismatic Journal published an article I wrote on medieval and post-medieval Venetian coins found in England. These tiny silver coins – known as ‘soldini’ were used as unofficial small change. They were illegally imported into England on Venetian merchant galleys (hence their nickname ‘the galley halfpence’), but in spite of beingContinue reading “Venetian coins”

Detecting Heritage Crime(s)

What do we know about illicit metal detecting in England? Turns out to be not as much as we’d like to. Louise Nicholas (Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Social Policy) and I carried out some research to better understand what is going on. We looked at two different sources of data and compared them toContinue reading “Detecting Heritage Crime(s)”

Of saints, sows or smiths?

My colleague Hugh Willmott (University of Sheffield) and I recently wrote a research paper on copper-brazed handbells in England. More and more of these little bells are turning up on rural sites in England, mainly being found through metal detecting. We’ve pulled the dataset together from England and floated some thoughts about what they mightContinue reading “Of saints, sows or smiths?”