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Copper-alloy handle, intrusive

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posted on 2021-10-26, 19:41 authored by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
Bronze or brass knife-handle, length 8.5cm. The crook-shaped head is in the form of a lion-head, or perhaps a leopard, the rectangular sectioned continuation is decorated on either side by a sort of floriated stylised 'oriental carpet' pattern. The end of the handle is open and in it is the remains of the iron tang of a knife. This socket and the relief decoration is still encrusted with chalk. The whole very worn indeed, the head reduced to an absurdity and the relief decoration almost unrecognizable.Roach Smith confidently asserted it to be 'palpably not ancient', and thought it had arrived in this grave by trick or an accident. Cf. similar verdicts on the sword pommels from Gilton - blaming Faussett's friends for playing tricks on them. It is very doubtful whether Roach Smith was right to dismiss these oddities so easily, and their antiquity needs checking carefully. For the knife-handle, Faussett (MS Diary, III, page 56 verso) cites Humphrey's translation on Montfaucon's Antiqity explained vol. 3 fol. 78, pl. 20 fig. 9; Beger's Thesaurus vol. 3, fol. 421; Batteley, Antiq. Rutup, page 84, pl. 3 fig. 3.C.R.S. mentions a hoaxer who may have introduced this object (see footnote under grave description). – B.B.


Grave ID

Kingston Down Grave 224

Object ID


Catalogue Number

M 6325


copper alloy (Sonia Hawkes Material Notes; bronze, brass, iron) (Antiquarian Material; brass)

Complete Keyword List (Including Alternatives)

other miscellaneous, intrusive (Sonia Hawkes Keyword; knife handle) (Antiquarian Keyword; knife handle)




National Museums Liverpool


Mayer Collection

Original Collection


Category ID


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