NLM-1E65F2: Early Medieval lead weight

Rights Holder: North Lincolnshire Museum
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Unique ID: NLM-1E65F2

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

Lead weight. Cast cylindrical weight with a finely incised design on one flat face. The weight has been carefully moulded, lacking the shrinkage lines which can betray the use of an open mould. The design comprises the outline of a plain cross whose centre is marked by a drilled pit. A hand-drawn centre line passes down each arm of the cross, and there is a suspicion of chevron ornament springing from that line. A pointed rhomboid defined by two incised lines is nested in each angle of the cross. A single shallow pit is placed within each rhomboid, and also within the fields remaining outside the rhomboid shapes; in at least two cases, a dot appears to either side. A plain cross is also scratched on the other side, though without further elaboration. Patinated. The mass is very close to that of four units of 4.43gms, which have been considered as sub-units of a system for measuring the weight of silver bullion under the Norse rule of the ‘kingdom’ of York and Dublin. The cross would suggest this object should postdate the Conversion of Viking rulers to Christianity. Suggested date: Early Medieval, 875-950. The decorative scheme added to a weight which is closely compliant with one of the systems of mensuration ascribed to Viking activity make this a ‘find of note’. A range of evidence, both archaeological, from excavation and field finds, and a place name derived from Swein’s Howe, may commend this object as a find of regional importance.

Diameter: 16.5mm, Thickness: 7.0mm, Weight: 17.63gms


The subject of Viking Age metrology is discussed for Flixborough, North Lincolnshire by Wastling 2009 (Wastling, L.M., 'Lead and lead alloy mensuration weights', in Evans, D.H. and Loveluck, C., Life and Economy at Early Flixborough c.AD600-1000, Excavations at Flixborough volume 2, Oxbow, Oxford and Oakville, pages 422-424). Wastling draws on Wallace 1987 for weights from Dublin using a module of 4.43gms (Wallace, P.F. 'The Economy and Commerce of Viking Age Dublin', in K. Duwel et alUntersuchengen zu Handel und Verkher der vor- und fruhgeschichtlichen Zeit in Mittel- und Nordeuropoa, Teil IVDer Handel der Karolingerund Wikingerzeit, Gottingen), and on Kruse (1988, 1992) for weights of a more general Scandinavian currency using a module of 4.07gms (Kruse, S. 1988, 'Ingots and Weights in Viking Age Silver Hoards', World Archaeology 20, 265-381; Kruse, S. 1992, 'Late Saxon Balances and Weights from England', Medieval Archaeology 36, 67-95). Kruse bases calculations on Nielsen 1983, on Hedeby, to arrive at the figure of 4.07gms (Nielsen, H-O, 1983, 'Rontgenologische und metrische Untersuchungen an zwei Kugel-Gewichtssatzen aus Haithabu', Berichte uber die Ausgrabungen in Haithabu 18, 109-120, Neumunster). These details were requested by Helen Geake, though this reporter regrets his lack of facility with the imposition of appropriate accents for the Continental sources cited by Wastling. These appear in their proper form in the bibliography of the Flixborough volume.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: Regional importance

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Late
Subperiod to: Late
Ascribed Culture: Viking style
Date from: Circa AD 875
Date to: Circa AD 950

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Thickness: 7 mm
Weight: 17.63 g
Diameter: 16.5 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 14th October 2021

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

Other reference: NLM48535

Materials and construction

Primary material: Lead
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Complete
Surface Treatment: Incised or engraved or chased

Spatial metadata

Region: East Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Lincolnshire (County)
District: West Lindsey (District)
To be known as: Swinhope

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: Centred on field
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: NLM
Created: 8 months ago
Updated: 8 months ago

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