12th century Paternoster manufacture
- I just found an unexpected entry about 12th century paternosters in "Die
Salier Macht in Wandel" (Heeg, Laura. Die Salier: Macht im Wandel.
München: Edition Minerva, 2011. ) In volume 2, page 191 is a photograph of
a piece of a bovine jawbone with disc shaped holes. I'll try to share the
photo when I get to an operating scanner. I thought this interesting
enough to translate the German entry for the group:
Early Paternoster manufacture at the Heumarkt (Haymarket) of Cologne
1st or 2nd thirs of the 12th century
FO Cologne, Heumarkt
Workplace debris of a paternoster maker
61 fragments from bovine bones, a large
frament of a lower bovine mandible with at
least 11 disc shaped beads - some half-
drilled disc beads - bovine lower mandible
L 10.5 cm, W 6.1 cm, bead discs from .5 to 1.1 cm
Cologne, Römisch-Germanisches Museume der Stadt
Köln, 1996 012-1212-26
From the excavations at Heumarkt abundant workshop waste of medieval
craftsmen was recovered. Above a gravel pavement laid in 1104 and
underneath a sales booth (Gaddem) whose oak boards were
dendrochronologically dated between 1176/1181 (+/- 5 years) was found
workspace waste from a bead cutter (Paternoster). Together with a
whetstone and leather remains, 61 fragments of bovine bone were recovered,
on which can be detected unique tool marks of specialized craftsmen.
Animal bone waste from medieval and renaissance workshops are known from
countless urban excavations in much of Europe. The findings of the Cologne
Heumarkt can be stratigraphically dated from between 1104 to 1176/1181 (+/-
5 years). They represent one of the earliest known archaeological
evidences of prayer beads, with which one recited the Lord's Prayer (Pater
Noster). It is probable that these prayer cords were made and sold at the
Cologne Heumarket. Paternosters of bone were mass produced and are
considered important examples of medieval piety. The manufacture appears
to be a known automation, but quite time consuming work processes followed,
which was extensively discussed in the literature. Written sources of the
late middle ages show that individual workshops could produce enormous
quantities of prayer beads. The craftsmen of the 12th century were no
doubt still far away from that kind of mass production.
MT (Marcus Trier)
Thomas Höltken, Neumarkt VI. Die mittelalterlichen Marktschichten vom
Heumarkt in Köln, in Kölener Jahrbuch 41 (2008) pages 579-677
Tilman Mittelstraß: Zur Archäologie der christlichen Gebetskette in
Zeitschrift für Archäologie des Mittelalters 27/28 (1999/2000) pages
Judith Oexele: Würfel-und Paternoster Hersteller im Mittelalter, in :
Kat. Köln, 1986, pages 455-462.
If anyone gets the additional information, I'm curious about how they
decided that these weren't just beads, but used for devotion.
- On Mar 24, 2013, at 6:49 PM, <wheezul@...> <wheezul@...> wrote:
> I just found an unexpected entry about 12th century paternosters in "DieYour friendly neighborhood skeptic says ;)
> Salier Macht in Wandel" (Heeg, Laura. Die Salier: Macht im Wandel.
> München: Edition Minerva, 2011. ) In volume 2, page 191 is a photograph of
> a piece of a bovine jawbone with disc shaped holes. I'll try to share the
> photo when I get to an operating scanner. I thought this interesting
> enough to translate the German entry for the group…
They are making something of a leap here, going from disk-shaped cutouts (which I don't in the least dispute) to paternoster beads.
They *could* be paternoster beads, although in practice all the other "early" paternoster beads we know about are spheres or otherwise 3-dimensional.
They could also be buttons, although if some of them have only one central hole that tends against such an interpretation.
O Chris Laning <claning@...> - Davis, California
+ http://paternoster-row.org - http://paternosters.blogspot.com