LANCUM-7266A0: Cast cu-alloy mace head

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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Unique ID: LANCUM-7266A0

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

Cast cu-alloy complete mace head (ecclesiastical staff fitting) dating from the 12th-14th century AD. The item is a complete knopped mace head with both shank and head intact. The mace is square in cross-section and it has a central hole. The shank is tubular in shape with two opposing rivet holes at the lower end. These would have held the rivet(s) for attaching the mace head to a staff.The head shows has six pyramidal knobs in rows, whole knops decorate the central band, with half knops on the top and bottom filling in the gaps. The knobs are all very worn and slightly mis-shapen, which may suggest that it was used as a weapon at one time. There is a greenish patina over most of the surface.

Other examples are recorded on the Portable Antiquities Schemes database, many of which are from the East Midlands, particularly Lincolnshire. Their exact function is not known, and it has been suggested that they are ecclesiastical staff fittings rather than offensive weapons (Adam Daubney, (pers comm.). Daubney states that it is interesting that this is from Bridlington (i.e. on the coast). A significant number of these finds are from coastal counties and around major inlets. This is similar to an example from Fiskerton, Lincolnshire, in being fairly squat (see Medieval Archaeology, 2005, p336, fig 5b). There are elaborate examples from Ireland and Scandinavia that suggest a function other than warfare (eg ecclesiastical), however England has only ever produced these undecorated examples so far. The dating of these items is still problematic, though a general late 12th - 14th Century has been applied.

Class: Knopped

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Subperiod to: Middle
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1100
Date to: Circa AD 1400

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 64 mm
Thickness: 2 mm
Diameter: 31 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Friday 18th June 2010

Personal details

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Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: North West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Cumbria (County)
District: South Lakeland (District)
To be known as: Kendal

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Character undetermined

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: LANCUM
Created: 12 years ago
Updated: 4 years ago

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