Canterbury Archeological Trust

Glossary of Terms


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In scanning and (marginally) editing the reports from the Canterbury Archaeological Trust I have come up against some words that are not explained in the text. I know (or think I know) some of the words, I can use my local dictionaries to find the meaning of others. Some I will leave with a question mark. Please feel free to email me and correct my interpretation.

fenestration
I am unsure on the precise meaning of this term. The latin for window is fenestra so this has something to do with windows.

insulae
The Latin word for `island', also used to mean a block of houses.

machicolations
Holes in the overhang of a parapet used to drop stones on attackers. The dictionary defines this as the gaps between the corbels, and defines a corbel as a projection from a wall to support a weight.

Pounds, shillings and pence
British currency was done using the duo-decimal system. There were twelve pennies in a shilling and twenty shillings to the pound. This meant that there were 240 pennies in a pound, a hugely sensible number, integrally divisible by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 16, 20, 24 etc. Money was written as pounds, shillings and pence: 867 14s 4d, the `d' coming from the latin denarius. If the sum was in shillings and pence, a stroke was often used: 10/- was 10 shillings (or half a pound). The hat of the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland was 10/6d.

M. S. C
The Manpower Services Commission was an organisation set up by the Government in an attempt to reduce the unemployment statistics. The Commission funded training to allow the unemployed to gain new skills.

tessera
These are the small tiles that the Romans used to create mosaic floors (the plural is tesserae).

ungentaria
Well, the latin word for perfume was unguentum, so I guess `small pottery ungentaria' are perfume containers.


Peter Collinson Last change: 7th September 2008