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BRITARCH-NEWS  May 2006

BRITARCH-NEWS May 2006

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Subject:

Finds Research Group AD700-1700 Conference

From:

Jonathan Bateman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Jonathan Bateman <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 5 May 2006 11:02:19 +0100

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FINDS RESEARCH GROUP 700-1700 CONFERENCE

FINDS FROM MEOLS:

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?

To be held at Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool on Monday 15th May 2006

Background: 

This remarkable site produced an extremely large and varied assemblage of 

everyday medieval items, mainly metalwork, as erosion by the sea advanced 

during the 19th century. The antiquarian collections from the site, now in 

several different museums, together comprise a collection second in range 

and scope only to that from London for the later medieval period. The 

central conundrum of why a small rural settlement without even a parish 

church, and of which the authorities never took much notice in 

documentation, came to produce such significant material may begin to be 

explained if the assemblage is seen as the norm, which has simply not 

survived or been effectively recovered elsewhere. 

The finds continue from the Hiberno-Norse period to the late 15th/early 

16th century, when the settlement presumably declined irreversibly. 

Thousands of dress accessories - buckles, brooches, mounts etc. - have been 

recovered. These include some casting wasters of lead/tin from the 

15th/early 16th century and series of copper-alloy mounts which may never 

have been used - possibly local products, too. A small group of late Norman-

period copper alloy brooches also appear to include wasters from cold 

hammering. There are a few items of precious metals, but the base 

accessories include several that are at the top of the range among mass-

produced goods. Overall, the fashions represented are those familiar from 

large urban excavations across the country. Cheap political badges from the 

Wars of the Roses or their aftermath attest an awareness of mainstream 

events that is unexpected. A surprisingly wide range of pilgrim souvenir 

badges includes not only ones from English shrines as might have been 

anticipated, but also examples assignable to Germany, the South of France 

and Rome, indicative of international travel. 

Domestic equipment, though sparser, again largely covers ground that is 

routine in towns. Knives, pewter spoons and metal kitchen wares are those 

found in major settlements everywhere. In contrast, a few buckles which 

stand out in having been very clumsily repaired and some keys made of 

copper alloy sheeting look like the kinds of substitutes that might be 

devised by a community which had temporarily lost direct access to a 

mainstream market and to some routine metalworking techniques (replacement 

with new versions or competent repair would normally have been the 

preferred options, with Chester less than a day's journey distant). Fish 

hooks indicate the likely economic basis of the settlement. Occasional high-

class items, like a door or chest ring and part of a Romanesque candlestick 

of a form found in major churches on the Continent, add to the unusual 

profile of the finds from Meols. 

(Geoff Egan)

Provisional Programme:

10.30 doors open/coffee*

11.00 Welcome

11.05-1145 Pre-medieval Meols - Prehistoric and Roman periods, and how 

Liverpool almost became the location of a National Museum of the Middle 

Ages - Rob Philpott (Field Archaeologist, National Museums Liverpool)

11.45-12.15 Hiberno-Norse Meols: The Viking Period - Dave Griffiths (Oxford 

University Dept. of Continuing Education)

12.15-12.45 Meols in its Historical Context - Jane Laughton (independent 

historian)

LUNCH* & Meols finds viewing 12.45-14.30

(several cafes etc. in the vicinity)

14.30-15.15 Medieval Meols and the post-Medieval Decline - Geoff Egan 

(Museum of London/Portable Antiquities Scheme)

15.15-15.45 Coins Found at Meols - Simon Bean (formerly National Museums 

Liverpool)

TEA* 15.45-16.00

16.00-16.30 Recent Finds from the North West - Nick Herepath (Finds Liaison 

Officer, Portable Antiquities Scheme)

16.30-17.00 Medieval Finds from Chester - Julie Edwards (Archaeologist, 

Grosvenor Museum, Chester)

17.00-17.30 Discussion/final viewing of Meols finds

17.30 End of proceedings

*NB Catering for the Group together will not be possible: drinks and food 

will be available at the Museum's cafeteria etc. at the prices advertised - 

those attending may wish alternatively to bring sandwiches, etc.

There is plenty to do in Liverpool, so for those who wish to make it a 

weekend or include the Sunday in the visit, we will try to arrange some 

informal events: a walking tour of the Docks/historic Liverpool with 

evening meal in the extensive Chinatown on Sunday 14th, and for those 

willing on Saturday 13th, group visits to some of the museums, with 

lunch/evening meal at appropriate pubs or restaurants. These events will 

start on both days from outside the Albert Dock Premier Travel Inn/Beatles 

Story at 11.00am. It will be easy to add on a short Mersey ferry trip 

and/or an expedition by train to the site of Meols itself (should there be 

demand from sufficient numbers of the curious or those inclined to homage) -

NB the site is not immediately prepossessing except in unusually 

favourable conditions!

Non-members: 3 for conference. Please contact for bookings and further 

information (please do mention if you are interested in the Saturday/Sunday 

events) Geoff Egan c/o 46 Eagle Wharf Rd, London N1 7ED 

([log in to unmask])



Jackie Keily
Curator, Department of Early London History and Collections Museum of London 150 London Wall London. EC2Y 5HN
Tel: 020 7814 5734
Fax: 020 7600 1058
Email: [log in to unmask]
www.museumoflondon.org.uk

Glamour, grandeur, sleaze, disease  - discover a great city in the making in the new Medieval London gallery

Free exhibition - SATIRICAL LONDON, 300 years of irreverent images - until 3 September 2006

Register for regular Museum updates with [log in to unmask]

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