Medieval Anglo-Jewish bronze ritual vessel, discovered in a disused moat in Norfolk at the end of the C17th. It dates to approximately 1200-1300.
Jewish communities spread rapidly throughout the Mediterranean world from the 1st century CE, but it was not until the 11th century CE that Jewish people began to settle in England. Two hundred years later, they were expelled from the country in 1290.
Stylus made from copper alloy and silver. This example originates from Icklingham, Suffolk and dates to approximately 900-1200 AD.
Styli like this were commonly found in monastic centres and were used to score lines on manuscripts or to write on wax tablets. The flat end was used to erase errors. Wax tablets and styli were used by monks to practice writing in order to illuminate manuscripts.
Puzzle jug, Brill/Boarstall ware, dating from 1250-1350, the Town Hall site in Oxford
Puzzle jugs were made for drinking games. The 'puzzle' was how to drink from the jug without getting drenched from the spouts at the side - these connect to a chamber at the bottom. It was filled through the hole at the top of the hollow handle. The face masks around the rim are a typical Oxford decoration.
Pilgrimage was a key feature of medieval society. Although the main destination was Jerusalem, Canterbury was a popular place for pilgrimage in England. Pilgrims travelled to cathedrals that preserved relics of saints that they believed held miraculous powers. This pilgrim badge shows the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral.
This cheeky chimney pot (or, more properly, a smoke-vent) once belched smoke from a merchant's house in the High Street of fourteenth century Oxford. It was found when excavating for the new buildings at Brasenose College in the nineteenth century. In the medieval period, houses were generally organised around a hall with a central hearth rather than a fireplace. The smoke from the fire would rise up through the rafters and escape through the chimney pot: in this case it would have been a dramatic sight as the smoke billowed from the pot's various orifices.