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whetstone / sceptre

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1939,1010.160

  • Description

    Stone sceptre or whetstone comprising a four-sided stone bar of hard, fine-grained grey stone. Each end of the bar tapers to form a 'neck', and ultimately terminates in a carved, lobed knob, roughly onion-shaped and originally painted red. Each knob is enclosed by a cage of copper alloy ridged strips. At one end (interpreted as the bottom), the cage consists of six strips and is attached to a cup-shaped piece of copper alloy. The cage at the other end (interpreted as the top) consists of eight copper alloy strips surmounted by an iron ring (see 1939,1010.205.b), upon which is mounted a copper alloy stag (see 1939,1010.205.a). Immediately below each knob are four human masks carved in relief, one on each of the stone bar's four faces. Each mask is different; three are clearly bearded and five are either beardless or bearded with an exposed chin. The masks are approximately triangular in shape, ending in curved oval terminals. All faces of the stone are extremely smooth and show very little trace of wear.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • early 7thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 58.3 centimetres (Stone bar only)
    • Length: 82 centimetres (incl metal fittings)
    • Width: 5.1 centimetres (max)
    • Weight: 2.4 kilograms (Stone bar only)
    • Weight: 3048.2 grammes (incl metal fittings (excl. 2 separate strips))
  • Curator's comments

    Discussed in:

    D. Quast, 'Ein spätantikes Zepter aus dem Childerichgrab', Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt 40 (2010), pp. 285-296, esp. p. 285 (offprint in the object file)

  • Bibliography

    • Bruce-Mitford 1978 Figs. 234-244; pls. 10-11 bibliographic details
  • Location

    G41/dc1

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    2004 1 Apr-30 Oct, Woodbridge, Suffolk, Sutton Hoo Visitor Centre, 'Between Myth and Reality'

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1939

  • Acquisition notes

    Excavated 1939

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1939,1010.160

Stone sceptre or whetstone comprising a four-sided stone bar of hard, fine-grained grey stone.  Each end of the bar tapers to form a 'neck', and ultimately terminates in a carved, lobed knob, roughly onion-shaped and originally painted red. Each knob is enclosed by a cage of copper alloy ridged strips. At one end (interpreted as the bottom), the cage consists of six strips and is attached to a cup-shaped piece of copper alloy. The cage at the other end (interpreted as the top) consists of eight copper alloy strips surmounted by an iron ring (see 1939,1010.205.b), upon which is mounted a copper alloy stag (see 1939,1010.205.a).  Immediately below each knob are four human masks carved in relief, one on each of the stone bar's four faces.  Each mask is different; three are clearly bearded, and five are either beardless or bearded with an exposed chin. The masks are approximately triangular in shape, ending in curved oval terminals. All faces of the stone are extremely smooth and show very little trace of wear.

Stone sceptre or whetstone comprising a four-sided stone bar of hard, fine-grained grey stone. Each end of the bar tapers to form a 'neck', and ultimately terminates in a carved, lobed knob, roughly onion-shaped and originally painted red. Each knob is enclosed by a cage of copper alloy ridged strips. At one end (interpreted as the bottom), the cage consists of six strips and is attached to a cup-shaped piece of copper alloy. The cage at the other end (interpreted as the top) consists of eight copper alloy strips surmounted by an iron ring (see 1939,1010.205.b), upon which is mounted a copper alloy stag (see 1939,1010.205.a). Immediately below each knob are four human masks carved in relief, one on each of the stone bar's four faces. Each mask is different; three are clearly bearded, and five are either beardless or bearded with an exposed chin. The masks are approximately triangular in shape, ending in curved oval terminals. All faces of the stone are extremely smooth and show very little trace of wear.

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Object reference number: MCS12972

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