Casting a bell for Mary Major Church

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Casting a bell for Mary Major Church

The remains of a 12th-century bell-casting pit were found below the tower of Mary Major church during excavations in 1971.

The process for casting a bell can be reconstructed from archaeological finds, and from a written account by a monk named Theophilus. A wax model of the bell was formed above ground in a frame, then coated with layers of clay loam. The clay was baked, allowing the wax to be melted, leaving a cavity in which the bell was cast.

Acknowledgments: Erich Kadow, Exeter Archaeology