Anglo-Saxon Saws



We dropped into Ipswich Museum today, which is well worth a visit. The central part has been kept as a sort of museum-museum in the sense that it is still much as the Victorians might have left it, complete with giraffe! The Anglo-Saxon room is a modern presentation though of a strong collection from that period (Ipswich after all was the first Anglo-Saxon town) including a set of reproductions of the Sutton Hoo treasures as made for the British Museum, and some tableaux one of which is pictured above.

Now my own study of the Anglo-Saxons began with their language and literature so “saws” mean proverbs to me,  and it was quite a surprise to see the chap in the tableau cutting his antler with a frame saw pretty much identical to the one I learnt to use at school. (OK, I know I’m getting old …) Was it an anachronism? A quick visit to the interweb tells me that though surviving Anglo-Saxon evidence is slight, the design was in use in Roman and mediaeval times, so why not inbetween? (Albeit with a less finely cut blade I suppose.) One up to the Anglo-Saxons, who continue to rise in my estimation. 

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