History thrives on stories and telling them is one of the things I do. I interpret the evidence available, then present to detectorists a comprehendible – and hopefully interesting – interpretation of the past. Often I use artefacts they have discovered as a catalyst for my writings. I am not an archeologist or historian. I am just that – a storyteller.
I often employ fiction in my scribblings to create a plausible past. The worry is that many readers regard me as some kind of expert, which I’m not. My status as a writer in a national magazine somehow lends credibility to any tale, and I often receive artefacts to identify and questions I can’t answer. Am I just a fraud or just one of those ‘snake oil salesmen’ I’ve written about on a previous occasion?
I must admit that I sometimes manage a wry smile when I read about the earliest recorded zombie attack or that a ring found in Sweden links the Vikings to ancient Islam. I could go on, but you get the picture. These tales are the result of an archaeological storyteller who has relied on research and vivid imagination to come to those conclusions. Sometimes I cannot help but admire the story-telling skills and panache of the various authors.
The Time Capsule. There was a vogue at one time to bury time capsules, but I don’t think it still happens? The intention was, I guess, that the artefacts and information would be studied at a future date and help archaeologists to interpret life at that time.
I cannot help but wonder that these assemblages came about as a result of people’s desire to present a picture of the past that would be difficult to misinterpret. Anyone putting together a capsule today is advised to include some coinage as future detectorist finding any will discover that they are unrecognisable. Which, in a roundabout way, brings me to the point of this blog post.
In July last year I resurrected a piece on bent love tokens and regurgitated the accepted theory why detectorists find so many. Somebody sometime had come up with a feasible explanation and it has, in the main, become accepted. Original article HERE.
But not everyone agrees. I was contacted by one of my subscribers who accused me of perpetuating a myth … and perhaps he was right. What do you think? I subsequently added the following to the blog:
Truth or Conjecture?I have already said that the custom of making love tokens was at its height during the reign of William III and the coin was always rubbed smooth (some say) and then bent. Indeed, It is said that a young man would prove his love to his young lady by physically bending a coin in front on her. With a thin hammered coin this wouldn’t be too difficult.
Other commentators say that that a number of bent coins were not love tokens at all. The reason for them being that way relates to conditions prevailing at the time, when counterfeiting was rife. Copper fakes were often dipped in silver and passed off as a higher denomination coin. To check whether they were fakes they were bent to check if they were genuine. Counterfeit coins would be revealed as the worn thinner edges of silver would split as the copper pushed through. Fascinating this hobby … innit!
Some FLO’s will tell you that bowed coins are thought to be love tokens but there is no contemporary evidence to confirm this, no recorded references from the time relating to them. I beg to differ.
If you click on this link you will see a quote from Robert Green’s book of 1592, showing a use of the bowed money as a love token sent from an uncle and aunt to their niece …
In a future post I hope be examining another item that perhaps should be looked at again …