Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Campbell E.;Batey C.;Murray G.;Thickpenny C.
Medieval Archaeology
Furnishing an Early Medieval Monastery: New Evidence from Iona
Optional Fields
2019, Society for Medieval Archaeology 2019. THIS PAPER DESCRIBES and discusses the significance of a number of metalwork and glass finds from the important early medieval monastery on the island of Iona, Argyll and Bute, Scotland. The finds mainly come from previously unpublished excavations, especially those by Charles Thomas from 195663. They include unique items such as an 8th-century lion figurine, and a 12th-century human head, both in copper alloy. These finds attest, for the first time, to the production of complex ecclesiastical metalwork such as reliquaries at Iona, and are some of the few such items to be recovered from excavated contexts. Fragments of early medieval window glass demonstrate that the buildings of the early monastery were more sophisticated than previously believed, and moulds and a reticella rod indicate decorative glass-working. A number of copper-alloy pins, strap-fittings and other decorative pieces of 9th- and 10th-century date show significant Norse-period occupation, and probably continuing metalworking traditions throughout the early medieval period. Taken together, these new finds begin to reveal that Iona was furnished with richly decorated shrines and reliquaries similar in sophistication to the illustrated manuscripts and sculptured monuments known to have been produced in the monastery.
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