Apothecaries’ Weights

Introduction Apothecaries’ weights were used to weigh out ingredients in medicines and potions.  The weight-system used was influenced by the Roman system, and the units were called scruples, drachms and ounces.  There were three scruples to the drachm, and eight drachms to the ounce.  Being generally small square or sub-square weights they can be confused …more

Candle holders

Introduction Candle-holders are lighting devices into which candles were fitted. They can be of many shapes, the main division being between the socket type (with a cup into which the candle was inserted) and the pricket type (with a spike onto which the candle was pushed). Sockets were certainly used by the Romans, but are …more

Tweezers (2001 guide)

Please note that this guide has not been fundamentally changed from the original print version of the Finds Recording Guide (Geake 2001), written when the database contained just 8,800 non-numismatic records. Introduction There are essentially three types of tweezers, all easy to recognise but hard to date.  First there are those made from sheet, with …more

Page Holders

Introduction A type of medieval tweezers with significantly expanded arm terminals (c. 45-50 mm in length when complete) may have had a particular function: to hold together several leaves of vellum manuscripts.  The objects can have slides which presumably locked the grip.  Their terminals are generally square, rectangular or trapezoidal, often with punched or engraved …more


Introduction Jettons are metal discs which feature designs and often inscriptions, and which were intended for use as counters for most of the period in which they were produced, that is in the medieval and early post-medieval periods. Being like a coin in terms of its properties, along with tokens, medals and medallions, jettons are …more

Mirror Cases

Introduction In the medieval period glass mirrors were often housed in circular, hinged metal cases.  Those cases recorded by the PAS are predominantly copper alloy, with generally standardised decoration and diameter (c. 28-30mm) (see Egan and Pritchard 2002, 362; fig. 241; Lewis 2014, 358-359; figs 10, 11).  Far fewer lead-alloy examples are recorded, showing more …more

Steelyard Weights

Introduction The balance known as a steelyard required weights that could be suspended.  This was achieved either by hanging weights using integral or separately added loops, or by perforating a weight centrally to take a separate wire bent into a loop.  Weights used on steelyards were fundamentally made of lead; this was encased as a …more


Introduction Steelyards are portable ‘scales with beam arms of unequal length’ (Crummy 1983, 99), rather than being an equal-arm balance.  They therefore had a fulcrum close to one end, or more specifically two; the material being weighed (the load) was suspended via a loop at the terminal of the same end, often in a pan, …more