26 January 2023 The Future is the Product of the Past

A bronze seal matrix of St George slaying the dragon has been discovered at the royal Château of Villers-Cotterêts in northern France

A previously unpublished and unknown bronze seal matrix of Saint George slaying the dragon has been discovered at the royal Château of Villers-Cotterêts in northern France.

This royal residence was built in 1528 by François I, who signed the famous decree of Villers-Cotterêts in August 1539 the edict that replaced Latin with French in all official acts of law and government.  It is the oldest French law still in force in French courts today.

Archaeological excavations, led by archaeologists from the Inrap and Aisne archaeological service, began in the spring of 2020 near the royal residence and on the tennis court. A second search by Inrap in November 2020 concerned the courtyard of the Offices. Since January 2021, archaeologists have been monitoring the work in the house and examining structures in all buildings.

The seal was discovered in a coal pouch in a room in the north wing of the castle.

Photo: Serge Le Maho, Inrap

The seal matrix is circular with a pierced mount on the back from which the seal could be worn on a chain around the neck or tied to a belt. It is hollow engraved on the obverse with a mounted horseman in full plate armor. Under the legs of the rearing horse is a dragon. It is bordered with a beaded edge and inscribed “IP PRI/EUR / DEVILLERS / LESM / OINE”.

The inscription indicates the seal belonged to the prior of the Saint George Monastery in Villers-Les-Moines which was a half-mile stroll from the Chateau of Villers-Cotterêts. Very little is known about this priory, which makes the discovery of the prior’s seal even more historically significant.

Seal matrices were extremely important in the Middle Ages, the sole means of confirming the authenticity of a signature, and as such were customarily destroyed or buried with the owner after death. For one to be tossed in with the coals it was almost certainly lost by accident, perhaps by someone warming himself at a fireplace, and was inadvertently discarded with the ashes by staff.

Profile seal matrix. Photo: Serge Le Maho, Inrap
Profile seal matrix. Photo: Serge Le Maho, Inrap

In the Middle Ages, the only way to authenticate a document was a seal. Seal matrices were incredibly important in the Middle Ages, as they were the only way to verify the legitimacy of a signature. As a result, they were often destroyed or buried with the owner after death.

The owner of this seal probably lost it by accident, was inadvertently discarded with the ashes by staff.

This unexpected discovery demonstrates the contribution of archeology to the knowledge of history. After the fieldwork is completed, the scientists will be able to closely link archaeological, archival, and historical research, to investigate not only the archeology of the castle but also the relationship between the castle and its political-historical environment.

INRAP

Cover Photo: Serge Le Maho / Inrap

Banner
Related Post

Interesting discovery at Crowland digs, a human poo from the Saxon period or coprolite found

16 August 2021

16 August 2021

Excavations in Abbey Church Field in Crowland, near Peterborough, have also yielded such amazing finds results for archaeologists. The archaeological...

Paleontologists Unearth 139 Million-Year-Old Pregnant Dinosaur Fossil in Chile

10 May 2022

10 May 2022

Archeologists in Chile have unearthed the fossilized remains of a 13ft-long pregnant ichthyosaur from a melting glacier -marking the first...

An inscription with the name of the ancient city was found at the excavation site in Gordion, the capital of the Phrygians

8 August 2022

8 August 2022

An inscription bearing the name of the ancient city was found at the excavation site in Gordion, the capital of...

A Polish-Croatian team discovered Ancient Roman Temple under a Croatian 18th Century church

24 November 2022

24 November 2022

Under an 18th-century church, the Church of St. Daniel in Danilo near Sibenik, Croatia, the foundations of an ancient Roman...

Iraqis Disliked El Nouri Mosque’s Restoration Plan

18 April 2021

18 April 2021

UNESCO recently announced that the El Nouri mosque, which was bombed by ISIL(The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant),...

Royal-Memorial Inscription Attributed to King Sargon II Discovered in Western Iran

25 April 2021

25 April 2021

In western Iran, Iranian archaeologists discovered a part of a royal memorial inscription attributed to the Neo-Assyrian king Sargon II....

Urartian graves in eastern Turkey pointing out novel burial traditions

21 September 2021

21 September 2021

The excavations in Cavuştepe castle continue with the excavations in the necropolis this year. Two new tombs from the Urartian...

Archaeologists discover bones of a woman who lived 14,000 years ago at a site in The Iberian Peninsula

13 August 2021

13 August 2021

Archaeologists have discovered the bones of a lady who lived 14,000 years ago, the earliest traces of a modern burial...

An exciting discovery in Hattusa, the capital of the Hittites

11 September 2022

11 September 2022

It is aimed to reach new information about the traditions of the Hittite civilization with 249 new hieroglyphs discovered in...

New Study reveals how England’s ‘White Queen’ worshipped a disembowelled saint at the Chapel of St Erasmus

5 December 2022

5 December 2022

A new study reveals the story of how England’s “White Queen”, Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV, once worshipped at...

Stunning Roman-looking sandal found deep in the snow in the Norwegian mountains

16 April 2022

16 April 2022

Global warming is leading to the retreat of mountain glaciers. Incredibly well preserved and rare artifacts have emerged from melting...

Excavation of Carlisle Roman bathhouse uncovers a connection between the site and a third-century Roman emperor

27 September 2021

27 September 2021

Excavation of a Roman bath at the Carlisle Cricket Club in Stanwix, part of the Uncovering Roman Carlisle project, has...

Runic Alphabet Symbols in the Tombs Found in the Excavations in Istanbul

23 May 2021

23 May 2021

In the excavations carried out by the Istanbul Archeology Museums in the area where the metro station will be built...

World-first recreation of ancient Egyptian garden open

20 May 2022

20 May 2022

Have you ever wondered what an ancient Egyptian garden was like?  This is your opportunity to find out! The first...

Rare medieval bone flute unearthed in Kent, southeastern coast of England

22 November 2022

22 November 2022

Archaeologists from Cotswold Archaeology have unearthed a rare medieval bone flute during excavations in Herne Bay, located in Kent, southeastern...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *