Crusader Period Buttons!

Today, I took some finds that have been in Mimi Lavie’s conservation lab at the Institute of Archaeology, at the Hebrew University. In addition to a nice assortment of metal objects from the various areas of exacavation this season, there was a very interesting find from Area F. From a Crusader period context we found several very well-preserved buttons, of a very special kind!

They consisted of what seem to be balls of organic material (seem to be some type of thread, perhaps flax) that were wrapped in a fine mesh of thread. This thread was comprised of both regular thread as well as thin metal (copper based) wires. Although we have to now check out these things more carefully, to identify the exact materials, these very interesting little objects appear to be buttons of a type that are known from Medieval and early Modern dress. In addition to the find itself, the very fact that organic finds were preserved for almost 1000 year is really fascinating!.

These finds clearly will have to be thoroughly researched, but in the meantime – this is quite fascinating. Perhaps, these are Richard the Lion Hearted’s buttons …. :-)


6 thoughts on “Crusader Period Buttons!

  1. Achish Melek Gat

    King Richard, King Achish, King Shuwardata — we got ’em all up in Area F, the pinacle of Gath (or is it Tzafit!). Readers might be interested to know that in Area F we are now actively excavating in the following periods, where we have definite occupation strata:
    Early Arab
    Iron II 8th Century BCE
    Iron II 9th Century BCE
    [ Iron I – Philistine ]
    [ Late Bronze II – Canaanite ]
    Middle Bronze II
    The complications involved in separating these periods out on the steep slope of Area F just add to the overall general fun of the experience. And that’s just one area. The fascinating goings-on in Area A, Area E, and Area P simply make Gath the place to be this coming summer. All you friends of archaeology, join us for the 2007 season at Tell es-Safi Gath!


  2. Achish Melek Gat

    Avi — Good questions. There may indeed have been a Roman at the very top of the tell. We get a little Roman-Byzantine pottery in Area F, one terrace removed from the highest point of the summit. But we don’t have a stratigraphic layer or phase from the period in the 9 squares that are now open in Area F. However, who knows what we’ll find when we expand eastward. (We can’t really expand any further north [we’d hit Macallister’s dump], west [we’d go off the cliff], or south [where the Crusader fort foundations would have destroyed all stratigraphy], so we have only eastward to move.)
    All the best. AMG (Jeff C)


  3. zachi

    This is information is really fasinating and will make us change our attitude to oranic finds from unstratified contexts, such as the TM debris.


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