J.0014 is a manilla currency piece composed of a copper alloy material. The object is roughly 11.0 centimeters long and 10.5 centimeters wide with a spiral height of 4.0 cm and is composed of one thin strand of metal that has been twisted together approximately 45 times to form a rigid, semi-coiled bracelet. No clasps or mechanisms have been used to connect the ends of the bracelet most likely due to the fact that the material is inflexible and would have loosely fit on the wearers wrist or ankle. Compressed soil deposits can be seen in the grooves of each coil, obstructing some details of the piece. In addition, four locations possess mild copper corrosion that is blue-green in color, though there are no signs of flaking or powder to suggest instability or bronze disease. Given the light corrosion and present soil deposits, it appears that no previous treatments have been performed. Overall, the artefact is stable and no changes are necessary for its current storage.
Excavated in the Calabar Province of Nigeria by M.D.W. Jeffreys between the years of 1890 and 1954,
J.0014 is believed to have been a ‘Bochie’ style manilla that would have been used for value judgements during ceremonies such as weddings and burials. This style of manilla differs from the general currency manilla that was mass produced between the 15th and mid 20th centuries both in Africa and European countries like Spain, Portugal, Britain, and the Netherlands. General manillas were no longer recognized as a currency in 1948, however, natives of the Calabar Province reluctantly took to this mandate and still continued to utilize all types of manillas in ceremonies and local trade. In particular, general currency manillas and those like J.0014 were composed of a transactional iron or copper, also known as ‘red-gold’ in Africa. The weight and size of the manilla would determine its value; J.0014 weighs a total of 440.0 grams which is lighter than some that weigh as much as 2300 grams.
Due to the international production of manillas and their continual circulation for multiple centuries, the exact provenance of J.0014 remains unknown. Often when foreign manillas were brought to Nigeria, their metal would be recycled by local craftsman and forged into other manilla forms. Since J.0014 was used for ceremonial functions, it may have more likely been forged in the Calabar Province, though this would need to be validated using instrumental analysis such as X-Ray Energy Spectrometry.
Condition image of J.0014 side 1
Condition image of J.0014 side 2
Sketch exhibiting locations of soil deposits on frontal surfaces of J.0014
DinoXcope image at magnification of 30 of soil deposits on coils of J.0014
DinoXcope image at magnification of 25 of mild copper corrosion on end 1 of J.0014
British Museum 2019, M. Jeffreys: Biographical Details. The Trustees of the British Museum.
< https://research.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/term_details.aspx? bioId=38608 >
UCL Ethnographic Collections 2019, J.0014 - Twisted Copper Anklet. UCL Ethnographic Collections Online Catalogue.
< http://ethcat.museums.ucl.ac.uk/detail.aspx# >
Edwards, E. 2010, Object Biographies: Manilla or Penannular Bracelet Currency, Rethinking Pitt-Rivers: Analysing the activities of a nineteenth century collector. < http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/rpr/index.php/ object-biography-index/19-prmcollection/78-manilla/index.html >
Ibitoye, S. A. and Ilori, M. O. 1998, ‘Indigenous metal casting in Nigeria: Its technology, attendant problems, business prospects and policy implications’, Technovation. Elsevier Ltd, 18(11), pp. 705–711. doi: 10.1016/S0166-4972(98)00052-2.
Jeffreys, M. D. W. (1950) ‘Contributors to this Number’, African Studies. Taylor & Francis Group, 9(2), p. 94. doi: 10.1080/00020185008706823.
Johansson, S.O. 1967, Nigerian Currencies: Manillas, Cowries, and others. 2nd Edition. ALFA- TRYCK, Skolgaton.
Kirk-Greene, A. H. M. 1960, ‘The Major Currencies in Nigerian history’, Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria, 2(1), p. 145.
Logan, J. 2002, ‘Identifying Archaeological Metal’ Canadian Conservation Institute, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada.
< https://www.canada.ca/en/conservation- institute/services/conservation-preservation-publications/canadian-conservation-institute-notes/ identifying-archaeological-metal.html >
Logan, J. 1988, 'Storage of Metals’ Canadian Conservation Ins)tute, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada.
< https://www.canada.ca/en/conserva@on-institute/services/ conservation-preservation-publications/canadian-conservation-institute-notes/storage-metals.html >