Week 34 Large pin 12-13th century
Large metal pin

We return to finds in the archaeological dig for this post. A great many pins were found during the dig. Probably a large proportion of them would have originally been used as shroud pins, but they could have been used for clothing and other related purposes. Most of the pins were of metal. The first one was large, more like a small nail and was found in the area to the north of the 12th-13th century church, in what had been the burial ground. It is very plain and functional.


Pin with bead 1074 Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums Collection
Pin with glass bead, note marks of 4 other beads

By contrast, the second one is smaller, a little over an inch long, and is more decorative. It is made of a copper alloy and has been decorated with a small glass bead. However, if you look closely, there are marks on the shaft of the pin indicating that, in fact, there had been four other glass beads on the original pin. Given this and its size, this must have been more for decoration than function.


Week 42 Decorated bone pin
Small carved bone pin

Metal was not the only material used. The final picture shows a small decorated pin made of bone. Again it is quite small, so the carving must have required considerable skill.


(The photographs are copyright Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collections and are used with permission).