Last week we met Jelena from Opera to go through some case lay-outs in the third gallery for Ancient Worlds. Susan had done a mock-up of the fakes and forgeries case and we discussed the material to be exhibited.
About the same time I was researching some ancient weapons for a photo enquiry and I found some interesting but unusual slingshot in our collection. These almond-shaped objects, often made of lead, were whirled in a leather sling and hurled at members of an opposing army. One piece has an ancient Greek inscription and what looks like a depiction of a sword or a spearhead on either side.
Through our network of contacts I contacted Guy Stiebel at the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and he asked whether the slingshot could have come from the island of Rhodes. I didn’t have any information about where it was found on the computer but the old index card told me it was bought from a Mrs Finch. I checked our catalogue for other items acquired from Mrs Finch and guess what? Of over 30 items associated with her, about half came from Rhodes. There seems to be a link with a Finch Collection at the Preston Museum in the early 1950s so that’s my next port of call to find out more. And the fakes and forgeries?
Another slingshot in our collection is made of copper or bronze. This is an unusual metal to use to make slingshot because it is relatively valuable. It looks distinctive with a tree on one side and three pellets on the other. Guy suggested that this might be a 19th century forgery. If we did want to add material to the fakes and forgeries display here’s something else that we could show.
It’s great that this information has come to light at this particular time. Not only do we seem to have identified another ‘false friend’ in our collection but thanks to Guy we may have a new line of enquiry on a genuine slingshot.
Guy has suggested that the lead slingshot may have come from the site of Kamiros on Rhodes. Knowing the name of the site would make of this all the more interesting.