SZ-23 antler

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Classification: handle
Material: antler
Size: length: 3.5 cm, width: 1.9 cm, height: 6 mm
Condition: fragmentary, damaged
Archaeological culture: Late Iron Age
Date: 5th–1st centuries BC
Date derived from: cultural context

Site: Sanzeno (Trento, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy)
Coordinates (approx.): 46° 21' 57.60" N, 11° 4' 30.00" E [from site]
Find date: November 1908
Find circumstances: old finding
Current location: Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum (repository)
Inventory Nr.: 13.453

Inscription: SZ-23 (]ilt[?)

Sources: PID: 19–20 [No. 203, No. 204]
IR: 282 [No. 63], pl. L, fig. a
Nothdurfter 2002: 1150–1151 [list 3, No. 8]



Antler fragment.
Probably handle of a knife or another implement.
Broken in four small pieces of various dimensions; blackened by fire whereas two fragments are more highly blackened.
The above-mentioned dimensions result of the autopsy by the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum.
Recomposed the four pieces in the correct way, along an inscription.
Related to three of the four fragments Mancini notes that they were found in November 1908 in Sanzeno without giving further information (cp. LIR: 104 [SA-41]). But it can be assumed that the antler piece presents one of the old findings from Sanzeno which were found by the local inhabitants at the end of the 19th century in Sanzeno. The major part of these findings were acquired by the Tyrolean State Museum in the course of the turn of the century, hence the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
The dating to the Late Iron Age is reasoned by the appearance of the inscription.
Mancini states confusing indications related to the material: In the IR he indicates antler as material (cp. IR: 63); in the LIR he characterises one fragment as made either of bone or of antler [SA-38], the other three fragments as made of bone [SA-41] (cp. LIR: 102). However the entire fragment is of antler.
The fragments were correctly aligned by the project's archaeological draughtsperson (cp. drawing), which led to their identification with another inscription-bearing object: In PID, Whatmough, following Conway, described the object as a calcined broken fragment, probably of a knife-handle, similar to SZ-22 antler, and "damaged at the top as well as on the left edge" (cp. PID: 220). While it is possible that Whatmough, who did not see the object himself, misinterpreted Conway's notes, examination of the breaking edges shows that the fragments have come apart only recently. The fragment was probably still in one piece when Conway saw it in 1908 – bits of it may even have gone missing (cp. SZ-23). In any case, in this description Mancini did not recognise the fragments he saw in the Tyrolean State Museum, and republished object(s) and inscription(s) as probably unpublished (cp. No. 63 I, II and III in the IR). This duplication found its way into the corpus of Schumacher 1992 (cp. SZ-23 and SZ-64). Also Nothdurfter 2002 notes the recomposed object as two differents where he indicates one fragment as section of a handle (Nothdurfter 2002: 1151). In his new edition Mancini indicates the four fragments as "SA-38" ("un piccolo frammento di osso o corno"; LIR: 102) as well as "SA-41" ("frammentini di osso semicombusti"; LIR: 104). Also in the recently released study about the Raetic inscriptions by Marchesini the objects were listed separately: The present object is listed with "MLR 240" where the broken fragment is indicated as "dispersa" (cp. MLR: 213 [MLR 240]). But Schumacher's number SZ-64 is mentioned with "MLR 215" (cp. MLR: 201 [MLR 215]; an autopsy was effected). The photo given in the MLR presents the four antler fragments together, however not aligned; the characters which the individual fragments bear, are listed separately. Therefore also in the MLR the relation between SZ-23 and SZ-64 is not given.
Autopsied by the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum in November 2013.
S.K. with additonal information by C.S.



IR Alberto Mancini, "Iscrizioni retiche", Studi Etruschi 43 (1975), 249–306.
LIR Alberto Mancini, Le Iscrizioni Retiche [= Quaderni del dipartimento di linguistica, Università degli studi di Firenze Studi 8–9], Padova: Unipress 2009–10. (2 volumes)