We are busy systematically sorting and identifying to species the animal bones from the trenches excavated in the grounds of the former Noah’s Ark Inn. Two bones, a cattle and sheep metapodial have been found which are smooth and highly polished, most probably through repeated use.
Bones such as these have been found on archaeological sites around the world and their function is uncertain but they are thought to have been used as informal tools, possibly as burnishing or rubbing instruments to clean hides of hair or to rub fat into hides to make them waterproof. Experimental archaeology testing these processes has shown that the surface of the bone develops a polish similar to that seen on the bones from archaeological sites.
The sheep metapodial also had a small number of narrowly-spaced grooves at one end of the bone. The grooves are distinct from butchery marks, being very smooth and polished as if the grooves were created through wear, possibly as yarn or narrow leather strips were repeatedly passed across it.