Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries 3-1 (November 2011)Marloes J. Rijkelijkhuizen: Bone telescopes from Amsterdam


In Amsterdam five bone telescopes or spyglasses were found in excavations. These were ‘Dutch’ or ‘Galilean’ telescopes with an optical system consisting of a convex objective and a concave ocular. They are dated to the 18th century. The telescopes were for personal use. The tubes of the telescopes were made from bovine metatarsals. Different specialized artisans were involved in the manufacturing process. In the Dutch Republic, a society where merchants had a lot of influence, it is probable that merchants from Amsterdam played an important role in the manufacture and distribution of these little telescopes (fig.1).