NCL-DB6C41: NCL-DB6C41: Medieval weight or gaming piece

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Unique ID: NCL-DB6C41

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

A cast lead-alloy Medieval trade weight, c. 1100-1500.

The object is pyramidal in shape, with exaggerated height relative to the size of the rectangular base. Each face bears a vertical central incised line, with approximately 10 notches made in the corner-joins of each face. The apex of the weight has larger grooves in the centre of each face, giving the appearance of four tall crenellations at the top of the piece. Between each of these crenellations is a circular perforation, one set slightly higher through the object than the other perforation. These perforations would have allowed the weight to be suspended. The surface has a dark grey colour.

While the most likely function of this object is as a trade weight, it could alternatively have been used as a gaming piece. Similar objects have been found from late Early Medieval and Medieval contexts, which have been interpreted as gaming counters. The unusual and deliberate decoration on this item adds some weight to the suggestion that it may be a gaming piece.

See also DENO-9D0037.

Refs: Biggs and Withers 'Lead Weights: The David Rogers Collection', pages 30-33, has examples of standing weights and pieces which may be interpreted as gaming pieces. See especially artefacts 70, 71 and 84. Also Biggs 'English Weights', pages 40 & 41, shows more medieval standing weights

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Subperiod to: Late
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1100
Date to: Circa AD 1500

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Height: 44.08 mm
Width: 17.2 mm
Thickness: 15.47 mm
Weight: 64 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 1st January 2009 - Tuesday 9th April 2013

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Dr Robert Collins
Identified by: Dr Robert Collins

Materials and construction

Primary material: Lead Alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: North East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: County Durham (Unitary Authority)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: NZ1055
Four figure Latitude: 54.889645
Four figure longitude: -1.845633
1:25K map: NZ1055
1:10K map: NZ15NW
Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
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: NCL
Created: 5 years ago
Updated: 5 years ago

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