Length 49 cm, Width 21 cm, Depth 11 cm
This leaf shaped wooden scoop is from the collection of the Armagh County Museum. It was found at about five feet below the surface level, in White Bog, Copney townland, near Carrickmore, County Tyrone. The Irish name for Copney is Copánaigh, which is thought to translate as 'place abounding in dock leaves'. Rumex obtusifolius, commonly known as dock leaf, is a perennial weed in the family Polygonaceae.
References in the Literature
This object is reported in the Ulster Journal of Archaeology (1946) as follows:
"This rather unusual boat-shaped wooden utensil was found in the White Bog at Copney, near the village of Carrickmore. It was discovered by Mr. Hugh Hall of Mullanmore at a depth of five feet below surface level, and by him presented to the Rev. C. W. Noble, M.A., who later deposited it in Armagh Museum.
Its actual purpose is somewhat perplexing. It is scoop-like in character, and its depth somewhat suggestive of a ladle. Handled dishes have been found from time to time, but those that I have notes of are circular or oval in shape, and only akin to the Copney utensil in that they are carved from solid blocks of wood."
The scanning electron microscope image on the left shows the micro-structure of the wood used to produce scoop 1.1945. The eyelash-like feature at the centre of the image is called a sclariform perforation plate. The presence of this feature is consistent with a previous wood species identification (Scannell, 1980) for this object where the wood was identified as Alnus glutinosa, commonly known as Alder. The purpose of the yellow coating on this object is not yet understood, but a small sample of the coating will be analysed to better understand when and why the coating was applied.
Scannell, M. (1980) Report on wooden trays, methers and other objects from Armagh Museum. Dublin: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ireland.
Paterson, T. G. F. (1946) Recent Finds in Counties Armagh, Tyrone, and Down. Ulster Journal of Archaeology 9 45-52.