8.7 Tools

8.7.1 Bone Tools

Several worked bone objects may have been associated with craft working. These include long bones pared to a point [400] [2049 from J161] and with holes bored through the centre [401]. Two ungulate long bones [1668 from J309] and [1669 from J5] had been pared into a point at one end.

8.7.2 Copper Alloy Tools

A small group of copper alloy tools were recovered from this site. The balance arm was identified by Alison Goodall.


A set of crudely manufactured copper alloy dividers [1653] were found in a Phase 4 deposit (J287). They display notched decoration and their pivot is of iron. These would have been used for marking out circles and patterns, for example on book covers, caskets or decorative stonework.

Balance arm

An incomplete copper alloy object [1533] consisting of an arm terminating in a perforation was recovered from a demolition layer within the church (J161). It is probably a suspension stirrup from a balance. At the other end the object is shaped, possibly decoratively, and has a larger perforation. There was probably originally another arm similar to, and running parallel to, the intact one. The object is probably part of the suspension stirrup from a balance. Early medieval examples, bearing a general resemblance to the one from Aberdeen, are illustrated in Kruse 1992 (75, fig.3a and fig.4c-d). A 13th century example, again only generally similar to the present example, comes from Southampton (Y Harvey in Platt and Coleman-Smith 1975, 255, fig.240.1727) and an unstratified balance arm with stirrup was found at St Peter's Street, Northampton (Oakley et al 1979, 258, fig.111.91).

Coiled wire

A coiled wire [1654] was found in a burial soil (Phase 2a, J122.


A needle [1655] was made from drawn wire and may have been used in a craft industry including clothing manufacture. It was found in J300 (Phase 3).

8.7.3 Stone Tools

A spindle whorl [1551] (J227), weight [1551] (J205) and whetstone [1553] (J241) were found in the burial soils within the church. The spindle whorl, associated with small-scale spinning appears out of place within a burial soil at this site, as does a weight which may have been for a fishing net or a loom. The whetstone, associated with either domestic or industrial activities, may have been used within the friary and made its way into a burial context.


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