Caen (Calvados)
Castle keep


12th / 13th century

Facing stone carved for a corner originating from a wall of the keep of the castle of Caen. The entire visible face is occupied by a graffiti representing a castle or fortified town. The embankment of a ditch can be recognised from long parallel grooves; a crenelated rampart represented by strips of crossing lines; a high tower on the ramparts on the right; another rectangular tower - possibly a keep? - on the left, and covered buildings within the ramparts. The largest carries two gable crosses; the smallest has a ridge cross. On the base of the high tower, on the right, an inclined plane seems to describe a drawbridge or bridge.
The style of the drawing is not unlike some of the illuminations of the beginning of the 13th century: the representations of the towns of fortresses in the maps of the itineraries of the Chroniques of Matthieu Paris for example.
Without being able to suggest any proof, or precise date, it is tempting to recognise in this anonymous work, if not an actual representation of the castle of Caen itself, at least a strong inspiration drawn from the place. 

Dimensions of the object
H.  0.23 m ; l.  0.30 m ; Prof. 0.21 m  

- Marin J.Y, Levesque J.M. et al., Mémoires du Château de Caen, Catalogue de l'exposition "Redécouvrir le château de Caen. Mille ans de vie et d'architecture", éditions  Skira, juin  2000.

Musée de Normandie, Caen, Calvados
D 98 3 001, Dépôt du Centre de Recherches Archéologiques Médiévales, Centre Michel de Boüard, Université de Caen