Results are back for Decorated Object
Ian Riddler, Bone and Antler Small Finds Specialist, has sent us the following text:
A highly decorated bone object from an upper deposit in the graveyard can be identified as the lid of a needle case. It includes an internal screw thread, which would originally have fitted over the indented top part of the needle case. Its elaborate decoration would have been matched on the case itself.
The production of bone needle cases increased dramatically from the late 18th century onwards, in response to the development of sewing and needlework as fashionable pursuits of Georgian and Victorian women.
The basic sewing kit would have encompassed a variety of needles, including darners and double-long darners, crewel needles for embroidery and beading needles for sequins and beads.
Needle cases were produced in different sizes to accommodate the range of needles, and lids with screw threads were introduced to overcome the problem of retaining the lid on the case. Notwithstanding that innovation, it is clear that this example was separated from its case.
It provides an intriguing image of a Victorian woman sewing within the vicinity of the Cathedral graveyard but the proximity to the south porch may well mean that a group of women were working outside of the cathedral in the natural light, when the needle case lid was lost.