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Re: use of roe deer skins in medieval England

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  • Marc Carlson
    ... I know that Roe broth was made from the liver. Let s see. Black, William Henry. History and Antiquities of the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers of the
    Message 1 of 8 , Aug 30, 2004
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      --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, "plarmitage"
      <plarmitage@t...> wrote:
      >Can anyone please help with the following enquiry?
      >I am currently working on an unusually large (possibly unique)
      >assemblage of roe deer antlers from a medieval (archaeological) site in
      >the City of London. These antlers date from the 12th/13th century and
      >are all intact with a portion of attached (chopped) frontal bone. Knife
      >cut marks on the frontal bone indicate skinning. I would be very
      >interested to learn what sorts of objects were produced from
      >(specifically) roe deer skins in the medieval period. There appears to
      >be information regarding the use of red deer skins but so far I have
      >not been able to locate anything in the literature on the use of roe
      >deer skins.

      I know that Roe broth was made from the liver.

      Let's see. Black, William Henry. History and Antiquities of the
      Worshipful Company of Leathersellers of the City of London. London.
      1871. p.21. "Que null de dit Mistir envoye nulle manere des lanyers,
      ne poyntz, queux spoient faitz de Roeslether." 1398 same page - "que
      nul de dit Mistier face pointz de Roo, de de Dere, sils ne soient
      loialment clowez."

      I can say that it doesn't seem to appear in any of the contemporary
      descriptions of shoe leathers I've seen.

      Marc
    • rmhowe
      ... I am under the impression that deer in Norman England were the King s property so am unsure who might be allowed to work the leather. However: The closest
      Message 2 of 8 , Sep 18, 2004
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        plarmitage wrote:
        > Hello,
        >
        > Can anyone please help with the following enquiry?
        >
        > I am currently working on an unusually large (possibly unique)
        > assemblage of roe deer antlers from a medieval (archaeological) site
        > in the City of London. These antlers date from the 12th/13th century
        > and are all intact with a portion of attached (chopped) frontal bone.
        > Knife cut marks on the frontal bone indicate skinning. I would be
        > very interested to learn what sorts of objects were produced from
        > (specifically) roe deer skins in the medieval period. There appears
        > to be information regarding the use of red deer skins but so far I
        > have not been able to locate anything in the literature on the use of
        > roe deer skins. Many thanks.
        > Philip L. Armitage (new member to the group)

        I am under the impression that deer in Norman England were the King's
        property so am unsure who might be allowed to work the leather.
        However:

        The closest I can come to answering your question is the following
        books and scholars:

        Cameron, Esther: Leather and Fur;
        Archetype Publications for the Archaeological Leather Group,
        1998 x 101p. Paperback, ISBN: 1873132514
        “A collection of papers on two key commodities whose importance
        for early medieval trade and craft is often masked by the lack of
        organics surviving in the archaeological record.” Contents:
        Leather working processes by Roy Thomson;
        Hides, Horns and Bones by Arthur MacGregor;
        The search for Anglo-Saxon skin garments and the
        documentary evidence by Gale Owen-Crocker);
        Pre-conquest leather on English book-bindings, arms and
        armour AD 400-1100 by Esther Cameron;
        The leather finds from Rouen and Saint-Denis by Véronique
        Motembault;
        Trading in fur, from classical antiquity to the early Middle Ages by
        James Howard-Johnston);
        Animal bones from the Viking town of Birka, Sweden by Bengt Wigh;
        The British beaver: Fur, fact and fantasy (James Spriggs).
        £ 16.50 (approx. US$ 23.89) plus shipping.

        Gale Owen-Crocker is sometimes corresponded with by Mistress Thora
        Sharptooth otherwise known mundanely as Carolyn Priest-Dorman,
        http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~capriest/thora.html
        capriest@...
        I do not have Gale's direct address. [Ask Thora.]
        She is an expert on Medieval cloth and clothing.
        [for that particular subject so is Thora, who reads the original
        archaeological articles and books in several languages well enough
        to read between the lines and notice when one author infers something
        about other research, if you doubt this examine her research and
        pages, she taught Regia Anglorum various things they were out of
        date on. Thora is an absolute wonder and I'd really have my ducks
        in a row before disagreeing with her as she will ask for your
        references to sound out your thoroughness. Thora teaches numerous
        classes at the Pennsic War each year in Pennsylvannia, a small
        medieval gathering of about 12,000 people lasting about 16 days.
        According to http://www.pennsic.net there were over 1,000 crafts
        classes taught there this year, which is remarkable, but I can
        tell you there is an absolute race to get into Thora's classes.
        She camps near the bottom of Runestone Hill and teaches things
        like Warp-weighted Loomwork.]

        Dr. Esther Cameron is/was attached to the York Archaeological Trust and
        recently completed a book on leather found there.

        Her PhD thesis was:
        Cameron, Esther A.: Sheaths and Scabbards in England AD 400-1100,
        2000, Archaeopress, Oxford, England, ISBN 1841710652.
        May be still available through archaeopress.com or oxbowbooks.com

        The York leatherworking book is currently available from:
        http://www.yorkarchaeology.co.uk/pubs/pubs.php
        AY 17/16 Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval
        York by Quita Mould, Ian Carlisle and Esther Cameron
        388pp; 177 illustrations; ISBN 1902771362
        Price: £25.00 plus p&p

        Dr. Arthur MacGregor is THE expert on skeletal materials work in England
        and is attached to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. His 1985 book on
        Antler, Ivory, Bone and Horn is the Bible on Bonework from Roman
        through Medieval Times. I am not talking about the similarly titled
        book from the York Archaeological Trust that covers only the finds
        from York, which are extensive.

        He writes books on a number of subjects for the Ashmolean but I
        have principally his books and articles on skeletal materials finds
        and working from different areas. When I have been physically able
        I have worked on projects for a hopefully future Compleat Anachronist
        on Bone and Antler Working. Unfortunately I am increasingly handicapped
        and the activity makes it worse. However my research into the area is
        pretty good and I have numerous books, articles, and archaeological
        offprints on the subject I have gathered over the last twenty years
        having to do with ivory, antler, bone and horn.

        Master Finnr was attempting to get the 1985 book of his republished
        for other reenactors and had been talking to a publisher and Arthur
        Macregor about republishing it but had never linked the two. I bought
        Finnr's copy to be used for republishing and sent it to the publisher
        but he wasn't interested and I haven't asked for it back yet. I tried
        to put the two of them in touch but it apparently didn't work.
        I'd had some success in encouraging reprints of books like the
        Mastermyr Find: A Viking Age Tool-chest from Gotland, English Medieval
        Chests, and Ancient Locks and Keys (at no profit to me) and Finnr
        badly wanted to do the same for reenactors (who have quadrupled
        worldwide in the years since MacGregor published in 1985. It's a rare
        book now, I bought mine new for $52. then which was a lot and it
        rarely appears on the market. I seem to remember paying $120 to Finnr's
        widow for the extra copy. I suppose I need to get it back and pursue
        some other crafts publisher (with Arthur's permission of course).
        Master Finnr indicated to me in one of his very last emails that
        Arthur seemed interested in communication with him. I had considerable
        trouble getting his address. Finnr's wife was a bit stressed and
        couldn't find it. I finally got it from Dr. James Graham-Campbell,
        who is the reigning English expert on Viking Age stuff. There can
        be only one on each subject in English Archaeology apparently. :)

        Dr Arthur MacGregor
        Dept of Antiquities
        Ashmolean Museum
        Oxford OX1 2PH

        Lastly, I found the following in my leather bibliography [which is
        not yet on the web.]:

        Edwards, Nancy: The Archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland,
        University of Pennsylvania Press, 418 Service Dr., Philadelphia, 10914:
        1990. 1st edition. ISBN 081223085X
        (1996 /Pbk 240 pages ills, 55 figs, 40 b/w photos $42.30)
        Critical survey of the archaeological evidence remaining from the
        early Middle Ages in Ireland. Illustrated with site-plans, and a range
        of artifacts. Line drawings prepared by Jean Williamson.
        Chapter 5 / Leather 79; Textiles and dress 80; Bone, Antler, and
        Horn 83-5. Pages 79-80:
        “Leather was an important by-product of animal husbandry. Ox hides
        and calfskins in particular were utilized: also horse hides and
        the skins of sheep and goats, as well of those of wild animals,
        such as red deer and seals."

        I have this citation but not the article I think:
        Spiers, , C.H.: “Deer Skin Leathers and Their Use For Costume“; from
        Costume vol. VII, 1973. "There is much information here about tanning
        methods, terminology and how it changed, sources for the hides and the
        tannins, etc."
        I have no idea if it relates to England or not.

        See following post on a 1915 article by Buckley which is out of
        copyright according to the Berne Convention as I understand it.
        It mentions deer hide being used for Scottish Shields.
        "Some Early Ornamented Leatherwork" by J.J. Buckley.

        Master Magnus Malleus, OL, SCA; The Manx; Regia.org; Great Dark Horde;
        member of the Society of Archer-Antiquaries. Mundanely R.M. Howe.
      • Frojel Gotlandica
        I wonder if this would some some of the problems with the lack of brewers pitch etc. http://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com/standards.htm It will certainly work
        Message 3 of 8 , Sep 23, 2004
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          I wonder if this would some some of the problems with the lack of brewers pitch etc.

          http://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com/standards.htm

          It will certainly work on drinking horns, but would depend on how flexible it is.

          Sandy

          Fr�jel Gotlandica Viking Re-enactment Society.
          http://www.frojel.com/
          frojel@...
        • sue_mccartin
          I thought linseed oil wasn t edible? It smells bad and can irritate the skin. It may be all natural, and perhaps inert when dry--I d like to hear if anyone
          Message 4 of 8 , Sep 24, 2004
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            I thought linseed oil wasn't edible? It smells bad and can irritate
            the skin. It may be all natural, and perhaps inert when dry--I'd
            like to hear if anyone tries this on leather to see what it does.

            That page seems to say the finish is a mixture of linseed and
            beeswax. I just looked at a poisons directory, raw linseed isn't
            recommended for injestion and it's on the natural poisons list as
            a "do not induce vomiting" so it apparently can be nasty. Hopefully
            when dry the problem goes away but I'd sure think twice.


            --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, "Frojel Gotlandica"
            <frojel@d...> wrote:
            > I wonder if this would some some of the problems with the lack of
            brewers pitch etc.
            >
            > http://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com/standards.htm
            >
            > It will certainly work on drinking horns, but would depend on how
            flexible it is.
            >
            > Sandy
            >
            > Fr"jel Gotlandica Viking Re-enactment Society.
            > http://www.frojel.com/
            > frojel@f...
          • Helen Leaf
            just off on a tangent here - here in the UK, some new legislation was apparently passed this year by the Water Regulations Council/ Water Regulations Advisory
            Message 5 of 8 , Sep 24, 2004
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              just off on a tangent here -

              here in the UK, some new legislation was apparently passed this year by the
              Water Regulations Council/ Water Regulations Advisory Scheme, that bans the
              use of bitumens for use with drinking water. They have in mind uses like
              drains and water systems rather than leather bottles and jacks, but it still
              has an effect on anyone who is searching for a source of bulk raw material
              that is food safe. Apparently it only came into being law earlier this year
              - before that, manufacturers would happily sell bitumen for use as brewers
              pitch.

              Helen


              >
              >Message: 1
              > Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2004 10:16:13 +1000
              > From: "Frojel Gotlandica" <frojel@...>
              >Subject: Re: Coating for jacks
              >
              >I wonder if this would some some of the problems with the lack of brewers
              >pitch etc.
              >
              >http://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com/standards.htm
              >
              >It will certainly work on drinking horns, but would depend on how flexible
              >it is.
              >
              >Sandy
              >
              >Fr�jel Gotlandica Viking Re-enactment Society.
              >http://www.frojel.com/
              >frojel@...
            • Foster, Jim
              Tried and True has long been used for food contact surfaces on wood like bowls, platters, etc. It s food safe after it s fully cured, which can take a week or
              Message 6 of 8 , Sep 24, 2004
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                Tried and True has long been used for food contact surfaces on wood
                like bowls, platters, etc. It's food safe after it's fully cured, which
                can take a week or so. It will form a moderately flexible film that would
                probably be okay for a rigid bottle/flask but might develop leaks if the
                leather was flexed much. It is available at a number of woodworking
                supply stores, so might be worth picking up a quart and checking it out.
                It would probably help the curing (and getting rid of any lingering
                odor) to have some kind of blower circulate air into the bottle while
                the finish is curing.



                > -----Original Message-----
                > From: sue_mccartin [mailto:suemccartin@...]
                > Sent: Friday, September 24, 2004 10:54 AM
                > To: medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com
                > Subject: [medieval-leather] Re: Coating for jacks
                >
                >
                > I thought linseed oil wasn't edible? It smells bad and can irritate
                > the skin. It may be all natural, and perhaps inert when dry--I'd
                > like to hear if anyone tries this on leather to see what it does.
                >
                > That page seems to say the finish is a mixture of linseed and
                > beeswax. I just looked at a poisons directory, raw linseed isn't
                > recommended for injestion and it's on the natural poisons list as
                > a "do not induce vomiting" so it apparently can be nasty. Hopefully
                > when dry the problem goes away but I'd sure think twice.
                >
                >
                > --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, "Frojel Gotlandica"
                > <frojel@d...> wrote:
                > > I wonder if this would some some of the problems with the lack of
                > brewers pitch etc.
                > >
                > > http://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com/standards.htm
                > >
                > > It will certainly work on drinking horns, but would depend on how
                > flexible it is.
                > >
                > > Sandy
                > >
                > > Fr"jel Gotlandica Viking Re-enactment Society.
                > > http://www.frojel.com/
                > > frojel@f...
                >
                >
                >>
              • Frojel Gotlandica
                Evidently there are various types of linseed oil, raw, boiled etc, the processed ones contain chemicals. In some countries they are not labeled with content.
                Message 7 of 8 , Sep 24, 2004
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                  Evidently there are various types of linseed oil, raw, boiled etc, the processed ones contain chemicals. In
                  some countries they are not labeled with content. The processed ones are poisen. But I think it is like
                  anything natural, large doses will make you sick. Raw linseed is used as a glaze on metals for rust protection
                  and will not dissolve in a hurry, it lasts for years. I think it would be extremely foolish of anyone to advertise
                  a product like this as food safe if it is not so.
                  But if it worries you simply don't use it. I just thought it might help.

                  Sandy

                  I thought linseed oil wasn't edible? It smells bad and can irritate
                  the skin. It may be all natural, and perhaps inert when dry--I'd
                  like to hear if anyone tries this on leather to see what it does.

                  That page seems to say the finish is a mixture of linseed and
                  beeswax. I just looked at a poisons directory, raw linseed isn't
                  recommended for injestion and it's on the natural poisons list as
                  a "do not induce vomiting" so it apparently can be nasty. Hopefully
                  when dry the problem goes away but I'd sure think twice.


                  --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, "Frojel Gotlandica"
                  <frojel@d...> wrote:
                  > I wonder if this would solve some of the problems with the lack of
                  brewers pitch etc.
                  >
                  > http://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com/standards.htm
                  >
                  > It will certainly work on drinking horns, but would depend on how
                  flexible it is.
                  >
                  > Sandy
                  >
                  > Fr"jel Gotlandica Viking Re-enactment Society.
                  > http://www.frojel.com/
                  > frojel@f...


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                  Fr�jel Gotlandica Viking Re-enactment Society.
                  http://www.frojel.com/
                  frojel@...



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