Now seems to be the season for finding lots of interesting stories about fakes and forgeries and objects that might not be what they seem at first glance. We are putting some fakes and forgeries as well as copies of objects in the Ancient Worlds displays opening on 30th October.
Just before Xmas a member of the public brought some objects into the Manchester Museum for identification. They are silvery-looking links from a bracelet. Each link shows a different design: there’s a castle tower or turret, the head of an archbishop and so on. They might not look particularly old but I remembered seeing something very similar about 20 years ago reported by a metal-detectorist to the Hull Museum where I was then working. I’d forgotten all about it until I came across an image of the item in a Portable Antiquities Scheme publication. Caroline Barton, Assistant Treasure Registrar at the British Museum, kindly found the reference in a 2003 report. The link was identified as ‘medieval’ and ‘c.1450’. Caroline sent me an image:-
It is pretty well identicial to the links brought in recently. Compare the photo above with the link in the centre of the photo at the top of this Blog and you’ll see. The enquirer told me that she had purchased the links in a charity shop in Manchester. She thinks they had come from a house clearance. This suggests that the link I saw in Hull in the 1990s cannot be of medieval date and is much more likely to be modern. You can see the virtually complete bracelet on a Blog for the Medieval section of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society. Something like 20 years after the event I can at last get some closure on what the object was and its date. I suspect the links were part of a bracelet made in, say, the 1950s. I feel sure there must be a complete example somewhere out there. It would be great to see one intact. If anyone out there has one do let me know.