8.5.1 Book and Casket Fittings

Decorated copper alloy fittings were found during this excavation which may have been used to decorate the covers of books or the exterior surfaces of caskets. These were in the forms of flowers, oval, circular and diamond-shaped domes. They have small holes where the objects are riveted on to the object. An extant book, a volume of the Duns Scotus' Super sententiarum, now in Aberdeen University Library, is attributed in an inscription dated 1507 to the Aberdeen Carmelites. This volume exhibits a clasp similar to one found at Linlithgow Carmelite friary (Stones 1989, 155) and it is volumes like this that would have also been decorated with these fittings. It has been suggested that in the binding of this volume we see the work of members of the friary community (Mitchell 1955, 13-14). Fittings like this may also have been belt fittings. At the Dominican friary at Guildford, book fittings seem to have been re-used as belt ends by the friars (Poulton and Woods 1984, 79).

A circular mount with a central hole [932] was found in the grave of SK 231 (Phase 5c, north). Sub rectangular domed mount [934] with a diamond shape off-centre hole was found in a context associated with the West Range. A highly decorated diamond-shaped mount [925] was found in a layer associated with the construction of the church. It has a small central round hole and a larger off-centre hole as well as incised linear and circular decoration. Another diamond-shaped mount [1626] with a large off-centre hole and two smaller holes was found [J273]. A round boss [936] with two small holes near the edge of the object and a larger off-centre hole, was found in a layer associated with the construction of the West Range. A mount in the shape of a flower with six petals [1624] was found [J134] and a mount [1625] from [J227] had been rivetted on to leather and a portion of the leather had survived within the plates of the mount.

Other fittings, including a small rectangular copper alloy plate, [1627], from a burial soil within the Church [J209], may have held leather straps in place as in the case of the French binding of 1510 illustrated by Mitchell (1955, pl 16).

Two fragments of copper alloy plating, each with two rivets were found in J121 [1647] and J227 [1648].


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