And so this is Christmas 2


And what have you done?  Well, it’s been a busy year on the shoe finds front beginning with a major report on the large assemblage of leather finds from Drumclay Crannog, near Enniskillen in Co. Fermanagh for the NI Dept for Communities. It was a big project on a tight schedule and I am very grateful to Prof. Aidan O’Sullivan and the School of Archaeology in UCD  for giving me access to their Ardmore Lab for the analysis phase of the project. As you can see there were a lot of boxes to get through.

Just some of the Drumclay finds boxes!

Some of the Drumclay boxes in the Ardmore cold room.

This marathon was followed by a more reasonable stroll through some small finds from the Luas Cross City project for Rubicon Archaeology. All mid-seventeenth century and including the battered remains of a red-heeled shoe.

More seventeenth-century finds came from two projects for Claire Walsh – one from Mill Street in Dublin and the other from the Coombe, also in Dublin. You can see some of the material recovered in previous posts.

The year ended in a rush with a presentation at the conference on the Rathfarnham Castle finds organised by the OPW and Archaeology Plan.

Rathfarnham Castle Conference

Rathfarnham Castle Conference.

I have also been researching some interesting shoes in the collections of the NMI, of which you will be hearing more in 2017. And, not forgetting the concealed shoes from Aungier Street house number 9/9a which I featured in a previous post and which will be appearing again in the New Year.

Finally, I’m rounding off the year with a project I begun a few weeks ago and which stalled slightly for various reasons. Anyway, here it is, a second attempt at a Mary Rose type costrel. I took scale measurements from the find drawings in the book and reproduced them full size on a sheet of suitably thick leather. I then cut out the 3 parts and began the assembly.

The 3 parts of the costrel

The 3 parts of the costrel

I wanted to replicate the raised ridges of the original without using a mould or wooden former. Instead I laid the softened leather on a bed of folded woolen blanket which was placed on a board surface. Then with the rounded end of a length of wood I pressed a groove into the flesh side of the leather which produced a raised band on the grain side.

The three ridges impressed into the damp leather

The three ridges impressed into the damp leather

The bottle ends have an almost Gothic arch shape which made closing them slightly challenging. I will admit it is not my best effort at stitching which made me appreciate the skills of the original bottle-makers.

Stitching the ends into place

Stitching the ends into place

Stitching completed - slightly messy!

Stitching completed – slightly messy!

The raised ridges

The raised ridges.

The bottle now needs to be decorated and made watertight but that can wait for another year.

All that remains for now is to wish you a very Happy New Year and to hope that you will drop by and visit Brogues and Shoes in 2017. Cheers!


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