Sir John Evans Centenary Project - image background is marbled paper from one of John Evans's books John Evans Numismatic Society Medal 1899

Sir John Evans's Collections of Artefacts


Iron Age Whetstone from Nydam

Country of Origin: Denmark

Description: Whetstone

Dimensions: 5.8cm length x 4.8cm width

Object Period: Iron Age

Provenance: Nydam, Denmark

Museum Accession No.: AN1927.4987

Aquisition History: Excavated by C. Engelhardt around 1860. Presented to the Ashmolean Museum by Sir Arthur Evans in 1927.

Other Information: This whetstone provides a good example of the distintive blue and white Evans collection label. Nydam (Schleswig) is a peat-bog famous for very rich finds from the Iron Age. It was excavated by C. Engelhardt around 1860 and the finds included the famous large 'Nydam boat' of oak. Many whetstones have been found there and Evans's stone is a typical example. The excavation history and the fate of these finds as the border changed due to war between Denmark and Germany is well recorded. It is exceptional to see an object from Nydam abroad. It can only be because of Evans's standing and close contact between them, that Engelhardt gave him an item from this unique find complex, which became of national importance and was treasured indeed.

Further References / Links:

Stine Wiell, A letter from Line: the Flensburg antiquities and the Danish-Prussian/Austrian war of 1864, Antiquity 70 (1996) 270 (

Lars Jorgensen et al. (ed), The Spoils of Victory - The North in the Shadow of the Roman Empire, Exhibition Catalogue, National Museum Copenhagen (2003).

Conrad Engelhardt, Denmark in the Early Iron Age, illustrated by recent discoveries in the Peat Mosses of Slesvig (1866). (This publication gives a description of 'two great deposits of antiquities discovered in the peat-mosses of Thorsbjerg and Nydam, in South Jutland (Slesvig). They were excavated under my superintendence during the summers of the years 1858 to 1863, at the expense of the Danish Government.' The finds of amazing richness including the famous large oak boat are beautifully drawn by the draughtsman Magnus Petersen).

The Nydam Ships - A description of the site and excavation history (

Nydam Society - More details and discussion on the reconstruction of the boats (