I took part in the Fun on the Foreshore event on 6th August at Trig Lane. I had expected to help out visitors and maybe try to identify some objects but I didn’t expect to walk away with a mystery of my own!

This object caught my eye because of its unusual shape. It was lying in a small pool of water a few metres from the end of Trig Lane steps. A closer look revealed this face:


He has a rather flat nose, and simple eyes and mouth. He also appears to have short hair and three parallel rings around his neck suggest a collar. At 62mm long, the object is pretty dainty. So what could it be? Discussions on the foreshore with Nat, Mike and the others produced a number of suggestions: a lace making tool, a knife handle or a peg for an instrument being amongst them.

There are a few clues, around the tapered end of the object there is evidence of rust from an iron attachment. The back of the object has broken off, possibly because the iron tang inside it expanded as it corroded. The two comparable examples from the Portable Antiquities Scheme Database appear to have also come from the foreshore (LON-A2DDE5 and LON-DEB0D1). They have been identified as whittle-tanged knife handles, dating from the late 16th to early 17th centuries. Any other suggestions would be appreciated!