HORN AND BONE ARTEFACTS FROM MODERN-AGE ELBLAG
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Excavations conducted in the Old Town of Elblag have brought an interesting category of finds, namely horn and bone artefacts from the 16th - 19th century. The objects in question are functionally varied and come from both local and foreign workshops. Until 2001 the excavations have disclosed only three combs from the afore-mentioned period. One of the reasons of such scarcity may be the widespread use of wooden combs, another - the loosened hygienic norms characteristic especially of the 17th-18th c. Another common hygienic artefact was the toothbrush. The oldest toothbrushes discovered in Elblag are dated to the turn of the 19th c. Three of the finds, probably the oldest ones, were probably made by a local artisan from locally available materials. They show significant variation in shape. There is also a group of six toothbrushes probably manufactured in a larger workshop or even a factory, which is suggested by their identical size and shape. There is also a group of unique finds, including a double toothbrush with bristles on both ends, and a possible import from Paris with an inscription reading 'Extra - Fine Paris'. Another group of finds connected with hygiene includes clothesbrushes. Those artefacts are usually similar in size and shape, and come from the first half of the 19th c. A very interesting item in this category is a multifunctional 'travelling kit' consisting of a brush, comb and mirror riveted together. The nineteenth-century dwellers of Elblag took some care of their health, as is evidenced by syringes discovered in the garbage dump of the apothecary's shop functioning at the Old Market from the 18th to the end of the 19th century. Other necessities are represented by buttons, fork and knife handles, linings and various unidentified tools. Some are rather primitive and carelessly made, but others evidence their producers' great skill. There are two finds connected with hunting, namely crossbow releasing mechanisms, one unfinished. Information about other pastimes can be inferred from dominoes (the game became popular in Europe in the 17th and 18th c.) and a disk that may be one of a draughts set. Many of the horn and bone finds from Elblag are difficult to interpret, being only fragments of containers, bottle cups or ornaments. 7 Figures.
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