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Lot 1708: Norman Dog Leash Swivel

Antiquities: Day 3

by TimeLine Auctions

December 8, 2016

London, United Kingdom

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Description: 11th-early 12th century AD. A bronze swivel for a hunting dog's leash, pyramidal in profile with globular lobes to the outer edges and a U-shaped loop and attachment bar for the strap at the apex; the lower face a square plate with circular hole trapping a round--section spigot with larger stirrup-shaped attachment formed as two conjoined hounds attached at the forelegs and rear body, two head finials at the corners. Published in Hammond, B. British Artefacts vol.3 - Late Saxon, Late Viking & Norman, Witham, 2013, p.100, item 1.13-r; identified as Norman (i.e. between 1066 and the early 12th century) by Dr. Kevin Leahy of Scunthorpe Museum, and recorded with The Portable Antiquities Scheme. 38 grams, 72mm (3"). Found Fen Drayton, Cambridgeshire, UK. Dr Kevin Leahy, Finds Advisor, Metals and Metalworking at Scunthorpe Museum writes: A very nice piece. While I have not seen anything quite like it before, stylistically it clearly belongs in the same group as the so called 'dog swivels'. These bear Romanesque decoration and date to the later 11th or 12th century. Other examples exist which involve the use of open-work?this is a very interesting find. Kurt Adams (Gloucestershire & Avon FLO) made the following comments on another Romanesque Swivel in the 2003 - 4 Treasure Report: It is possible that this object belongs to a series of large and elaborate swivels with Romanesque decoration which date them to the twelfth century. It is thought that they may have had a variety of uses, including perhaps on dog leads or harnesses, where the zoomorphic decoration may be particularly appropriate. Artefacts that can be securely dated to the twelfth century are surprisingly rare, but why this should be is still a puzzle.

Condition Report: Fine condition.

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