bell | archaeometallurgy
Nov 4 2018

Reconstruction of earliest bronze church bell is ringing for the first time

Bastian Asmus

The Carolingian bell is ringing

This reconstruction is unique,

because this bell is not only cast in the shape of the Canino bell, as it has already been done for some decades on different occasions and for scientific investigations. See for this the various excellent works of the colleague Hans Drescher . No, this reconstruction is to be made as a modern original, following the same instructions of Theophilus Presbyter concerning bell making; using the same bell metal and  the same moulding material. In short to do it, as it was supposedly done in the olden days.

This reconstruction in accordance with the production process tries to reconstruct and implement the original production process in such a way that the resulting object does not differ from the original not only in material, shape and form, but also in the way of its production.

Bell tower for the beehive bell on the Galli campus. Tower, yoke and bell can now be tested for their suitability for the coming years.

Bell tower for the beehive bell on the Galli campus. Tower, yoke and bell can now be tested for their suitability for the coming years.

Applied Archaeometallurgy

As the name suggests, applied archaeometallurgy deals with the applicability of archaeologically, historically and scientifically informed interpretations. The aim is to reconstruct a process that can be applied in practice and that could have been implemented technologically for the epoch in question. It is thus closely related to experimental archaeology. In contrast to this, it additionally formulates the wish for applicability and practicability in the sense of pragmatically acting craftsmen. In addition to the pure functioning of a method, they also have to take care of other aspects such as the production costs, raw material availability, raw material procurement, livelihood and sales of their products.

The Campus Galli Bell, the Tower and the Yoke

The reconstruction of the bell production took place over the last three years and has already been described in numerous articles, e.g. here or here, or here. Beside a specialist publication  the experiments also led to a reconstruction for the Romanesque Bartholomew Chapel in Paderborn, which will be hung there in August 2019.

For the reconstruction, a bell tower and a yoke were designed by the craftsmen of Campus Galli, which can now be tested for their practical suitability over the next few years. Sources  on yokes for early  bells is very thin: Only one yoke of the Haithabu bell is preserved . The description of Theophilus Presbyter needs more interpretation  and  is still waiting for a practical implementation.

In the afternoon of 26.10.2018 the time has come: The bell rings for the first time, and compensates with its sound from the Carolingian period for variuos failed attempts in the past three years.