PAS Review: week to 9 April 2021

PAS Review: week to 9 April 2021

A round-up of some of the finds recorded at the PAS for the week ended 9 April. There were 204 finds recorded in this week

Featured Find

Currency Bar

Photo: Birmingham Museums Trust CC By 2.0
Object type: Currency Bar
Period: Post Medieval
Primary material: Copper alloy
Date found: 22/03/2020
Location: Stratford-on-Avon

A complete cast copper alloy “manilla” dating to probably 18th-19th century. Dating is difficult because the design changed little from their introduction in the late 15th century. The word “manilla” is thought to come from the Spanish or Portuguese word for bracelet. They were the principal form of money in West Africa and were worn by women to display their husband’s wealth. They may have been introduced to Africa by the Phoenicians, Carthaginian explorers or Egyptians, who were know to use penannular money.

European traders therefore found a readily accepted form of currency that they could use to trade for ivory, pepper and slaves. In the early 18th century Bristol and then Birmingham became the most significant European brass manufacturing city and it is likely that most types of brass manillas were made there.

In 1843, a Liverpool ship, the Duoro was wrecked and sunk at Round Rock, Isles of Scilly. Divers have since found large numbers of manillas on the wreck.

Selection of other finds

Photo: Roger Thomas CC By 2.0

Powder Measure

A powder holder cap, probably 17th century. Most likely a cap to a wooden holder that contained a measure of gunpowder. It would be suspended from a bandolier by a cord that passed through the two loops on the cap and two loops on the holder.
Photo: The Portable Antiquities Scheme CC By 2.0

Spur

A spur rowel dating to the 15th to 17th century. The surface has some traces of tinning.
Photo: Surrey County Council CC By 2.0

Nummus of Magnentius

Obverse: Rosette-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right. Legend reads: D N MAGNEN-TIVS P F AVGReverse: Emperor standing left, holding Victory on globe and labarum. Legend reads: FELICITAS REIPVBLICAE
Photo: Kent County Council CC By 2.0

Mount

A Medieval copper-alloy mount inlaid with a Limoges style enamel, dating from AD 1150 – 1300. It was made using a Champlevé technique where troughs or cells in the the metal are filled with vitreous enamel. The piece is then fired until the enamel fuses. The mount was probably produced at the workshops at Limoges, France. It was most likely affixed to something religious like a book, reliquary or casket.
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