Pictish hand and knee prints discovered in Iron Age metal workshop


Blackleaf
#1
Archaeologists have discovered imprints left by the hands and knees of a Pictish metalsmith worker while excavating an ancient settlement in Orkney.

The marks left by the smith's hands and knees, which have been described as 'unique' by experts working at the archaeological site, are believed to around 1,500 years old.

Archaeologists found the imprints preserved on a stone anvil in the metalsmith's workshop on the island of Rousay.

'Unique' 1,500-year-old Pictish hand and knee prints are discovered inside an underground Iron Age metal workshop on the island of Orkney


Imprints left by the smith's hands and knees could be up to 1,500 years old

They were found on a stone anvil in an ancient workshop on the island of Rousay

The building is part of an Iron Age settlement known as the 'Knowe of Swandro'


By Press Association and Phoebe Weston For Mailonline
25 July 2018

Archaeologists have discovered imprints left by the hands and knees of a Pictish metalsmith worker while excavating an ancient settlement in Orkney.

The marks left by the smith's hands and knees, which have been described as 'unique' by experts working at the archaeological site, are believed to around 1,500 years old.

Archaeologists found the imprints preserved on a stone anvil in the metalsmith's workshop on the island of Rousay.

The building is part of a substantial Iron Age settlement known as the Knowe of Swandro, which is being destroyed by the sea.

The Picts were a collection of tribes who lived in what is today eastern and northern Scotland during the Late Iron Age and early Medieval periods around 270 to 900AD.


Archaeologists have discovered the 'unique' hand and knee prints of a Pictish metalsmith (pictured) while excavating a settlement in Orkney


The site is being examined as part of an excavation project directed by Dr Julie Bond and Dr Stephen Dockrill, both from the University of Bradford.

Initially when researchers saw the strange prints they thought it was made by one of the archaeologists working on the site.

However, closer analysis revealed they were left by the ancient metalsmith who was working in this dark chamber between the 6th to 9th century AD.

The team analysed crucible fragments and floor deposits, which provided evidence he was working with copper, brass and other metals.

'The analysis of the floor enables us to say with confidence where the smith worked, next to a hearth and two stone anvils', said Dr Dockrill

'The biggest surprise came when we lifted the larger stone anvil and cleaned it; we could see carbon imprints of the smith's knees and hands.'

The underground building was entered via steps and a curved corridor.


Imprints of the smith's hands and knees, believed to be up to 1,500 years old, were found preserved on a stone anvil in his workshop on the island of Rousay


The building (pictured) is part of a substantial Iron Age settlement known as the Knowe of Sandro which is being destroyed by the sea


This would have minimised the amount of light entering the smithy, allowing the smith to assess the temperature of the hot metal based on its colour.

The centre of the small underground building was dominated by the hearth, with a set upright stone on the doorward side protecting the hearth fire from drafts.

'I have never seen anything like this before. It's unique as far as I know', Dr Dockrill told the BBC.

'Knowing that this is a Pictish building, I would guess the prints are somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 years old,' she said.


The site is being examined as part of an excavation project directed by Dr Julie Bond and Dr Stephen Dockrill, both from the University of Bradford. Initially when researchers saw the strange prints they thought it was one of their own



Closer analysis revealed that the prints were left by the ancient metalsmith who was working in this dark chamber between the 6th to 9th century AD


The workshop is on the island of Rousay (pictured). The centre was dominated by the hearth, with a set upright stone on the doorward side protecting the hearth fire from drafts


The Picts formed a tribal confederation whose political motivations derived from a need to ally against common enemies such as the Britons and the Romans.

Picts held the territory north of the Firth of Forth in Scotland and were one of the reasons even heavily armoured Roman legions could not conquer Scotland.

The Picts mysteriously disappear from written history around 900AD.

Experts suggest that they likely merged with southern Scots, who already had a written history by that time, combining the history of the two clans.


The team analysed crucible fragments and the floor deposits which provided evidence he was working with copper, brass and other metals



The Picts formed a tribal confederation whose political motivations derived from a need to ally against common enemies such as the Britons and the Romans


Picts held the territory north of the Firth of Forth in Scotland - and were one of the reasons even heavily armoured Roman legions could not conquer Scotland


WHO WERE THE PICTS?

The Picts were a collection of tribes lived in what is today eastern and northern Scotland during the Late Iron Age and early Medeival periods from around 270-900AD.

They formed a tribal confederation whose political motivations derived from a need to ally against common enemies such as the Britons and the Romans.

They have long been seen as fearless savages who fought off Rome's toughest legions and refused to surrender their freedoms to live in conventional society.

However, this wild reputation might well be undeserved.

They actually built a sophisticated culture in northern Scotland and were more advanced than their Anglo-Saxon rivals in many respects.


Mel Gibson's blue face paint in Braveheart (pictured) is a nod to the Pictish tradition of body-paint


As a people, research has shown they were sophisticated, hard-working and skilled in many ways.

We are increasingly finding that these 'lost' peoples - who have somewhat disappeared from history - were capable of great art and built beautiful monasteries.

The Roman name for the people - Picti - means 'painted people'. It's not known what they called themselves.

Mel Gibson's blue face paint in Braveheart is a nod to the Pictish tradition of body-paint - but the real Picts fought stark naked, and there are records of them doing so up until the 5th Century.

The habit of fighting naked, especially in the cold Scottish climate, didn't harm the tribe's reputation for ferocity.

Picts held the territory north of the Firth of Forth in Scotland - and were one of the reasons even heavily armoured Roman legions could not conquer Scotland.

The Picts mysteriously disappear from written history around 900AD.

Experts suggest that they likely merged with southern Scots, who already had a written history by that time, and the two clans' histories combined.


WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT IRON AGE BRITAIN?


The Iron Age in Britain started around 800BC and finished in 43AD when the Bronze Age began.

As suggested by the name, this period saw large scale changes thanks to the introduction of iron working technology.

During this period the population of Britain probably exceeded one million.

This was made possible by new forms of farming, such as the introduction of new varieties of barley and wheat.

The invention of the iron-tipped plough made cultivating crops in heavy clay soils possible for the first time.

Some of the major advances during included the introduction of the potter's wheel, the lathe (used for woodworking) and rotary quern for grinding grain.

There are nearly 3,000 Iron Age hill forts in the UK. Some were used as permanent settlements, others were used as sites for gatherings, trade and religious activities.

At the time most people were living in small farmsteads with extended families.

The standard house was a roundhouse, made of timber or stone with a thatch or turf roof.

Burial practices were varied but it seems most people were disposed of by 'excarnation' - meaning they were left deliberately exposed.

There are also some bog bodies preserved from this period, which show evidence of violent deaths in the form of ritual and sacrificial killing.

Towards the end of this period there was increasing Roman influence from the western Mediterranean and southern France.

It seems that before the Roman conquest of England in 43AD they had already established connections with lots of tribes and could have exerted a degree of political influence.

After 43AD all of Wales and England below Hadrian's Wall became part of the Roman empire, while Iron Age life in Scotland and Ireland continued for longer.
 
Curious Cdn
#2
"The Iron Age in Britain started around 800BC and finished in 43AD when the Bronze Age began."


Who wrote this crap?
 
Blackleaf
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

"The Iron Age in Britain started around 800BC and finished in 43AD when the Bronze Age began."


Who wrote this crap?

Phoebe Weston.

Go to her Twitter site and vent your outrage at her journalistic and historical shortcomings: https://twitter.com/phoeb0?lang=en