NARC-C298F1: potmends

Rights Holder: Northamptonshire County Council
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Unique ID: NARC-C298F1

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

A collection of 16 lead pot mends.

This type of pot mend was created when a vessel developed a hole and molten lead would be poured onto it to form a plug. A channel is created around the edges of the mend by the sides of the vessel. Sometimes the clay of the vessel will remain within the channel and can help to date the pot mend. Without the clay remainng in the channel, however, these meds are difficult to date, as this method of mending pottery was in use from the Roman period until the Post-medieval period.

A collection of so many pot mends from one area is unusual because of their relative rarity. When a pottery vessel breaks, it usually cracks rather than suffers a hole, and so this number of mends in an area where little pottery has been found suggests that they were being curated for melting and recylcling.

The largest pot mend weighs 143g. 66mm long, 58mm wide and 18mm thick.

The smallest weighs 11.08g.11mm long, 11mm wide and 11mm thick.

One of the pot mends has retained a small amount of sandy, orangey clay within the channel. This suggests that a Roman date is likely, and as it can be expected that all the mends were curated at the same time, suggests a roman date for the whole assemblage. However, Geoff Egan, medieval and post-medieval specialist at the British Museum, states "my perception is that the majority in the rural ambit (ie PAS) are medieval rather than Roman (though the latter may be more prominent in the literature) and I have seen very few post-med. ones (those there are this late are virtually all been on collectors' vessels)."

Kevin Leahy, Early Medieval Specialist, adds: "Cast lead plugs like these are common on early Anglo-Saxon cremation urns. They carefully chipped a hole in the side of the pot and then cast a lead plug into it. These lead plugs are one of the markers for a cremation cemetery but there's usually a lot of pot lying around as well".

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN
Date from: Circa AD 250
Date to: Circa AD 1800

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 16

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Julie Cassidy
Identified by: Ms Julie Cassidy

Materials and construction

Primary material: Lead
Completeness: Complete

Spatial data

No spatial data available.

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: NARC
Created: 8 years ago
Updated: 8 years ago

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