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Tally sticks


These four tally sticks, found in a chest outside the carpenter’s cabin, were often used as a method of receipt for payments made.

Notches were carved into the flat surface, each one representing a single unit, with ten being represented by an X. The top one features decimal counting, suggesting it was a count rather than recording currency, weights or measures, none of which were decimalised at the time.

Also, while official Exchequer tally sticks were split lengthways, allowing both the payer and payee to keep a copy, these appear to have been kept as a single piece. This suggests that, rather than being receipts, they were actually to aid the owner in record keeping