ossamenta: Weasel skull (Default)
[personal profile] ossamenta
After over ten years as a zooarchaeologists, most bones have a certain ordinariness about them. It's butchery waste, sometimes industrial waste, and the occasional buried animal. Even if it's artefacts or pathologies you would at least have spotted similar bones in books or articles. But now and again you find a bone that makes you go WTF?

The latest one came from an Iron Age pit from a large settlement in Oxfordshire. It's a cheek part of a horse mandible with a smooth hole in it. Unfortunately we only have one half of the mandible, but I assume it was originally part of a set (as opposed to cattle mandibles, the two sides of horse mandibles are fused). The hole is smooth on all edges, so it couldn't have been suspended stationary for all its use - if so, only one part would have been smooth. The cord may have been large enough to fill the hole entirely, but it must have moved occasionally in order to smoothen the edges.

I have no idea how to interpret this. I have never seen anything similar in any book or article. Are we dealing with the partial remains of a horse head that was displayed and later discarded? I know that the classic definition of "ritual" being an "All-purpose explanation used where nothing else comes to mind" (recommended book, btw), but I can't think of any other way to explain this.

 photo P1060264_zpsajdn6by4.jpg

 photo P1060266_zpsk9z32dlj.jpg
Close-up of hole

Date: 2015-05-25 11:40 am (UTC)
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)
From: [personal profile] highlyeccentric
The hole is very smooth. Smooth enough for 'someone's been spinning this thing around on a string'?

Date: 2015-05-26 08:10 pm (UTC)
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)
From: [personal profile] highlyeccentric
... peculiar form of weaponry?

Am I right in thinking there's a hole in the Kendrick's Cave Horse Jaw? The angle of the photo is different and I'm not well versed in the shape of horse jaws, but your hole is at the hinge end isn't it?

Weirdly none of the BM's notes on the Kendrick's Cave jaw say 'has hole in it' but it looks like a hole to me...


On further examination this replica copy is giving me a different angle, looks like the hole is further forward: http://www.llandudnomuseum.co.uk/English/prehistoric_room.html - could just be the nostril hole for all I know.

Have you seen there's a cattle mandible in kent with a similar hole? http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/02/02/01/10/53.htm

... this is probably stuff you've already seen, don't mind me, I just got over-excited...


Date: 2015-05-26 06:24 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Intressant fynd, måste varit jättespännande att hitta! "Det måste vara något kultiskt" Gissa om mina arkeologkompisar på Bäckedal skrattade när de fick lära sig vad man egentligen hade en nystpinne till!De hade såklart blivit tillsagda att katalogisera den de hittade just som "kultföremål"

Date: 2015-05-26 06:26 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Jo, det var ju jag som kommenterade och glömde namnet, då...


ossamenta: Weasel skull (Default)

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