NO-4 antler

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Classification: handle
Material: antler
Size: length: 9.3 cm, width: 4 cm, height: 1.3 cm
Condition: fragmentary
Archaeological culture: Late Iron Age
Date: 5th–1st centuries BC
Date derived from: archaeological context, cultural context

Site: Mechel / Meclo (fraction of: Cles, Trento, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy)
Field name: Valemporga
Coordinates (approx.): 46° 21' 0.00" N, 11° 1' 12.00" E [from site]
Find date: 1885–86
Find circumstances: excavation
Current location: Castello del Buonconsiglio (on exhibition)
Inventory Nr.: 6394

Inscription: NO-4 (a?(?)l?a[(?))

Sources: Pauli 1888: 143–144
Campi 1889: pl. II.2



Antler fragment.
Handle (immanicatura) of a knife or another implement.
The entire antler divided in the middle, thus related to the present object semi-circular cross section; curved side smoothed, flat side not worked, therefore rough and the spongiosa structure visible. Broken on the narrow side; at the wide side a thickened and distinct end; from the narrow section separated by a single deep notch; at this area an iron nail. Beige-coloured, around the nail corrosion traces.
The above-mentioned dimensions result of the autopsy by the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum.
On the convex, worked side an inscription starting directly after the separation groove.
The present object presents one of the findings from Mechel / Meclo. In the late 19th century Luigi Campi directed excavations in this area (cp. the map of the excavations in Campi 1889: pl. I). The antler handle was discovered during the excavations executed between 1885 and 1886. In the same years also two other inscribed objects were found: a miniature bronze plaque in the shape of a shield and a ceramic fragment. These inscribed objects were first published by Pauli where Pauli's study is part of Campi's excavation report (cp. Campi 1888 and Campi 1889; in Campi 1889 on plate II were also indicated drawings of the inscribed objects).
An exact age determination related to the object is not possible. However, concerning the archaeological context as well as the characters on the antler handle a dating to the Late Iron Age is comprehensible.
The index card No. 6394 of the museum notes "frammento di osso", however in the current permanent exhibition the object is indicated as antler ("corno") and obviously the present object presents an antler handle. For comparable objects, i.e. antlers used as handles of knifes or other implements, cp. in the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum e.g.: SR-5 antler, SZ-22 antler, SZ-32 antler, SZ-63 antler or WE-3 antler. Concerning the findspot and the find year the present antler handle must be connected with other objects discovered in Mechel / Meclo and listed in the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum: NO-3 plaque and NO-5 potsherd. Concerning the material discussion and the previous antler indication related to NO-5 potsherd, the present object must be associated with NO-5 potsherd and NO-7 antler. The latter three objects come from Mechel / Meclo, are preserved in the Castello del Buonconsiglio and were discussed together in the scholary literature (cp. Mayr 1957b: 231 [No. 3] with photo; Nothdurfter 2002: 1148 [Liste 3: Hirschgeweihvotive, No. 2.2]).
In the recently released study about the Raetic inscriptions by Marchesini the antler handle is listed with "MLR 38", an autopsy was effected (cp. MLR: 66 [MLR 38]).
Autopsied by the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum in October 2014.



Campi 1888 Luigi Campi, "Scavi e scoperte fatti negli anni 1885–1886 nello stabile a Valemporga di Meclo nell’Anaunia. Parte I", Archivio Trentino VII (1888), 129–184.
Campi 1889 Luigi Campi, "Scavi e scoperte fatti negli anni 1885-1886 nello stabile a Valemporga di Meclo nell’Anaunia. Parte II", Archivio Trentino VIII (1889), 209–261.
Mayr 1957b Karl M. Mayr, "Reitia-Inschrift vom Piperbühel bei Klobenstein am Ritten", Der Schlern 31 (1957), 275.