Thursday, 30 May 2013

Project Proposal continued and Annotated Bibliography

The main questions we will be examining throughout our analysis are: Was trichinopoly a specialized craft made by craftsmen or was it done in the home? Was it a masculine or feminine trade? And does the specific metal used affect the ease of production of the trichinopoly pieces? Our reconstructions of trichinopoly chains will be made from copper jewelery wire and silver-plated jewelery wire, depending what is available in local craft stores and within our range of affordability. We will be creating the chains based on instruction from hobby jewelerymaker Katie Gibson, who is experienced in 'viking knit', another name for the modern hobbyist form of trichinopoly chains, using her supplies and equipment. The main challenges we forsee in this project are the apparent lack of documentation of the original process of making trichinopoly chains, the low number of known samples of the chains, and the learning curve involved in working with metal. We will be doing most of the recreation work during the week of Congress at Uvic, while classes are not in session. This will vary slightly depending on our individual schedules, however we have each other's contact information and can arrange meetings as needed. 

Bellingham H 1906. Annual Address. Journal of County Louth Archaeological Society 1(3): 5-14.

In his address to the County Louth Archaeological Society, Sir Henry Bellingham discusses the Ardagh Chalice, an antiquity of interest to the Irish reading audience. While Bellingham states that Ireland has a particular interest in the preservation of relics discovered in the region, it is the Ardagh Chalice that is of great interest to him. Bellingham then goes on to discuss the chalice in detail, including the design of the chalice, the metals used to manufacture the metal, inscriptions and animal forms, and two silver wire chains thought to be created by the process of Trichinopoly. Dated between the tenth and the early eleventh century, Bellingham points to the chalice as a motivational tool for continuing to study relics found within Ireland. With regard to the project, this article is useful because of its mention of Trichinopoly, its dating of the Ardagh Chalice, and its relative location in Ireland which can help us place the practice of Trichinopoly into a historical/archaeological context.

Petrie, G 1850-1853. On an Ancient Brooch found near Drogheda. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 5: pp36-40

Dr. George Petrie discusses his find of an ancient brooch, or a fibula, belonging a Mr. Waterhouse of Dame-street. Petrie describes the brooch as consisting of two “peculiarities”; the brooch is made of copper and tin alloys rather than bronze and has an attached chain made of silver created by the process of Trichinopoly. These peculiarities are important, as they were not found in any other specimen at the time of this article’s publishing. Petrie goes on to say that this type of brooch design may be associated with Celtic art as well as the Moorish tribes of Africa and could also be associated with Irish Antiquity. Petrie assigns the date of manufacture between the eleventh and early twelfth century. Finally, as the brooch is a piece of early Irish art, Petrie calls for the brooch to be placed in a museum. This article is relevant to our project not only for its mention of Trichinopoly, but also for its mention of silver, which seems to be the metal of choice with regard to its manufacture. This article also ties in with the others in terms of dating and its location within Ireland.

Richardson, H 1980. Derrynavlan and Other Early Church Treasures. The Journal of Royal Society of Antiquaries in Ireland 110: 92-115

In this paper, Richardson describes to finding of the Derrynavlan treasure, which the author classifies as early Christian Irish art. Richardson goes on to describe each of the treasures, providing illustrations as well as historical context as to the manufacture and the uses for each one. The Silver Scourge, discovered with the Trewhiddle Chalice is of particular interest to our project, as it is a silver chain created through Trichinopoly. Richardson goes on to mention that Trichinopoly was also discovered at the base of Ardagh Chalice and with the Tara Brooch. This article is useful to our project because in addition to the dating of the artefact, the historical discussion of art styles and manufacturing methods within a historical context would be of help to us as well.

Somerville O 1993. Kite-Shaped Brooches. The Journal of Royal Society of Antiquaries in Ireland 123: 59-101

 Somerville compares and contrasts twelve different brooches, discussing possible parallels in terms of style and construction, in addition to determining which time period they may have been manufactured in (Irish, Viking, Christian). Somerville discusses each brooch in detail, including designs, inscriptions, measurements, and manufacture methods, using illustrations to give a better idea of what each brooch looks like. Finally, the author goes on the order the brooches chronologically. A point of interest in the article is the mention of Trichinopoly chains, which was discovered with the number eleven brooch and may have been associated with a few others. Somerville states that one of the Derrynavlan treasures, a paten, also possessed a Trichinopoly chain, as was dated within the eighth century. This article is important to our project because of its dating of paten with the Trichinopoly chain and its implication that knitted wire might have been used with other brooches as well. Somerville also associates the brooch with other Trichinopoly-related artefacts, which helps us with dating and with context.

-N'Donna and Dylyn

Monday, 20 May 2013

Trichinopoly Project Proposal Introduction

Trichinopoly, a form of metal working, is the intended technology to be examined within the context of an experimental archaeology framework. This form of metal working is often referred to as a “braiding technique”(Stevens 2004, p.5) although when searching for examples results do appear under Viking Knit and Viking Wire Weaving as well. Viking Knit had many probable uses and could be worn around the wrist or neck(with or without adornment), made to be used as an edge for fabrics, and made into chains for other decorative purposes(Bjornsson as cited in Haley, p.1) on fabric or metal objects. It is found in Northern European burials and amongst hoards(Stevens as cited in Standen 2008, p.1; Haley, p.1) in countries such as: Denmark, Ireland, Scotland, and Sweden (Gunnarsdottir 2005) as well as even earlier in Rome, Greece, and sites relating to the Byzantine Empire ranging from 1st century BC – 4th century AD(The British Museum as cited by Haley, p.1). The Anglo-Saxon Norse used trichinopoly from the 8th century – 10th century AD(The British Museum as cited by Haley, p.1) and it is not as common in the archaeological record as other similar techniques from contemporary locations, both within time and space, perhaps because of the process being labour intensive with it's narrow diameter(Haley, p.1; Fitzhugh; Bjornsson; Stevens cited by Standen 2005, p.1) and weaving. Knitting with metal is perhaps also quite time consuming as well. It was most likely utilized by prominent or wealthy men and has never been found in a grave identified as being female(Stevens; Graham & Campbell cited by Standen 2005, p.1). Silver tends to be the most common material used(Graham & Campbell as cited by Standen 2005, p.1) but search results with gold have appeared thus far. General Google and Wikipedia searches seem to link trichinopoly to a city in India although none of the formal sources appear to do so.


Gunnarsdottir S. 2005. A Collection of Knit Wire Chains.

Haley J. N/A. Trichinopoly (or Viking wire weaving).

Standen D. 2005. Documentation for: (Example) Silver Trichinopoly Chain.

Stevens L. 2004. A Research Journey: Trichinopoly Chainwork Is It Viking Chain Knitting?.


Sunday, 19 May 2013

Pre-Proposal Post: Trichinopoly

Research questions that have been decided on in the last meeting:

Was trichinopoly a specialized craft made by craftsmen or was it done in the home?
Was it a masculine or feminine trade?
Does the specific metal used affect the ease of production of the trichinopoly pieces?

Group Members: I have also found this site which mentions some of the archaeological items that we had looked at within our initial research. I have not looked into it any further but will when I get the chance to. 

Trichinopoly is a form of metal working sometimes referred to as Viking Knit
Some photographic examples:
Perhaps Gold?
A Progress Piece?

A SIlver Chain

- Maia Biel