The British Museum has acquired a rare 1,000-year-old seal. Not the swimming kind of seal - one used to impress a design onto wax seals on official documents. Researchers study
these alongside coins and medals of the era - their manufacture has much in common. -Editor
The British Museum announced it has acquired a very rare, walrus ivory seal matrix, which was made in England shortly before the invasion of William the Conqueror. Around 1,000
years old, it is one of only five examples known to survive, and this was the last one to have been in private hands. This exquisite piece of craftmanship now belongs to the
nation where it can be studied and enjoyed for generations to come.
The seal matrix was used to seal documents to ensure authenticity and privacy, and is also thought to have been worn around the neck as a mark of status or as a way of
identifying the wearer. The seal demonstrates how widespread documentary culture was at the time, with seals used for letters, land exchanges, grants from the king, and between
The seal bears the text SIGILLVM WULFRICI. Beyond this seal Wulfric leaves no trace. His seal is all that is known about him but the fact that he owned a seal implies he was of
high status. It is very rare for evidence of a named person to survive from the pre-conquest period, and therefore this seal is an immensely valuable window into life in England
before society was transformed after the invasion of the Normans. It is also an intricate piece of sculpture, featuring a sword and serpent devouring itself.
Lloyd de Beer, the Ferguson Curator of Medieval Britain and Europe at the British Museum said: "We're delighted to have this incredible object join the collection of the
British Museum. These things are extremely rare, and it is an object that brings us close to a pivotal moment in history. Within a generation England would be completely
transformed, and this object introduces us to one of its people."
To read the complete article, see:
British Museum acquires rare 1,000-year-old seal on third
Wayne Homren, Editor
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