Handbags and Gladrags 1


This particular project is by way of testing an interpretation of a find I recently had an opportunity to examine. The original was about 60% intact and in a very fragile condition which meant minimum handling. Its shape suggested a satchel despite its small size.

The replica is based on measurements taken and is 1:1 scale. Fortunately some of the main seams were intact and I was intrigued by the fact that assembly was by way of a length of flat thong which was treaded through small slits cut in the overlapping pieces. I was surprised at how firmly the overlapped seams held once the thong was pulled tight. A similar method of assembly was used on a large  satchel recovered from an excavation on a Scottish Crannog in Lough Glashan, Argyll (Crone and Campbell 2005) and on knife scabbards from urban sites such as Dublin and Waterford. The only tools needed were a sharp knife and a straight awl.

The finished reconstruction functions well as a small satchel with a carrying handle. As to what the original once contained? Perhaps a small manuscript or a set of wax tablets – qui sait?












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