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Medieval mirror case

Detectorists unearth a huge range of finds, most of which are of no importance whatsoever. Many of us have a ‘wish list’ of items that we would love to find but never have. Andrew Thompson said he was delighted when the item pictured here turned up, for it was a ‘first’ in 11 years of detecting.

Andrew’s find is a 33mm in diameter mirror case, which I would date to the 13th-14th century. It has a simplistic hinge at one side, a catch (incomplete) at the other side and what appears to be a suspension loop at the top. The exterior of the lid has punched or integrally cast decoration and the whole case is probably made of brass.

Mirror cases like this one were popular during the later medieval period. Inside was a piece of reflective glass, which was used to catch the reflection of a saint. Presumably this would lead to the mirror case owner believing that it held something special in religious terms. However, the High Church authorities might have interpreted this as idolatry.

If this find was on Andrew’s ‘wish list’ then it can now be crossed off it. It’s certainly an interesting addition to his collection of detecting finds and something that many other detectorists have yet to find.

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