We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

Trinkets and Charms: the use, meaning and significance of later medieval and early post-medieval dress accessories

STANDLEY, ELEANOR,ROSE (2010) Trinkets and Charms: the use, meaning and significance of later medieval and early post-medieval dress accessories. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This is a thematic study of dress accessories of late medieval to early post-medieval date from two regions of mainland Britain. It is an investigation of everyday objects which aims to re-engage the material world with past individuals. An interdisciplinary approach is used to understand how dress accessories were often more than ornaments, and how they intersected with and were integral to social, political and religious life. Accessories recovered from a range of excavated archaeological sites, chance finds and data recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), have been catalogued and investigated. Documentary evidence, paintings and tomb effigies are sources of evidence drawn upon throughout to supplement the archaeological evidence, to enhance the interpretations and to place the accessories into a wider social context. The accessories have been analysed using object biographies in thematic discussions based on aspects of daily life.

The results demonstrate the overall homogenous nature of dress accessories used in the two border regions and there is little evidence to suggest that they were consciously used by later medieval and early-post medieval people to display a border identity. Chance finds and PAS results have extended our knowledge of the types of adornments worn and revealed types not frequently found in excavations. Some variation between and within regions is identified, such as an unusual distribution of dress hooks, the possible presence of ‘Hanseatic’ material in the northeast of England, and purposeful deposits of accessories of monetary value in the north-east of England. Long-term biographies are also identified where a number of accessory types had different meanings depending on their context of use. The themes of memory, heirlooms, and gift giving feature throughout the thematic discussions of the accessories. By viewing archaeological artefacts as things, this thesis endeavours to expand our knowledge of medieval dress accessories and past lives.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:medieval, archaeology, jewellery, accessory, dress, daily life, art, object biography
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2010
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 Oct 2010 10:50

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter