arachaeology

Rock crystal amulet attached to mount by four silver bands

Europe, no date

This may be a 17th C charmstone of the kind represented in the collections of the NMS, where round crystals are found set in silver on a chain for dipping into liquids as charms against disease, see Hugh Cheape, Charms against witchcraft in Goodare and Martin and Miller, Witchcraft and belief in early modern Scotland, , p. 242.

Such crystal balls were often found in Northern European burials of the early Middle Ages (especially Germanic, Merovingian and Anglo-Saxon). See A. L. Meaney, ‘Anglo-Saxon Amulets and Curing Stones’, British Arachaeological Reports, 96, 1981, pp 82-85.

Meaney suggests these balls were frequently complemented with a sieve-spoon and were mostly found in female burials.

From the British Museum