So you hear us going on a lot about the Romans, but how about we fast forward in time by some 1400 years and indulge the Medievalists amongst us! You may remember a while ago (last October) we published a post about wells, and there was a particularly nice example of a Post Medieval chalk lined well. Weeeelllllllllll…. it’s still going! Yep, a good 5 meters further down and the well is still there with no signs of stopping. It is providing an interesting contrast to the rest of the site with all the Roman timber buildings.
Every so often we return to this well to dig more out. Ideally in archaeology you remove any later features first, working backwards in time. However for health and safety and logistical reasons we can only dig down about 1 meter at a time, and then have to wait for the ground around it to be lowered before continuing.
In this past week we have had an opportunity to continue excavation. Much of the backfill since the post in October has provided little in the way of finds, mainly containing gooey clay with building rubble. However this time things were different. Along side a number of metal objects such as a spur, what only can be described as a meat cleaver, and a small copper bowl, was an amazing rondel dagger. It is in almost perfect condition… so pointy it had to be carried around site very carefully (no running with sharp objects now, children).
Found by Victoria (who was taking time out from timber recording), she was exactly the right person for the job! Victoria has a great enthusiasm for weaponry (don’t be concerned; she is harmless), and could identify it straight away on site.
A rondel dagger is a type of dagger used in the late Medieval to early Post Medieval period, 14th to 16th centuries. And basically it was a blade used for stabbing! They were taken into battle by knights as a back up weapon, and could pierce a person through the joints in a suit of armour.
The dagger is just over half a meter in length with a tapering iron blade. The dagger appears to have a wooden hilt or guard (the bit that that stops your hand sliding off the handle onto the blade), and pommel (the bit at the end of the handle). The handle is bone, with copper rivets holding the blade in place.
The dagger has now been sent off site to conservation and will be looked at by specialists. One can only imagine the biography of this object though, and the possible gory tale it could tell.