NLM-8C28E5: Probably Roman Surgical Implement

Rights Holder: North Lincolnshire Museum
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Unique ID: NLM-8C28E5

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

Copper alloy razor. A flat blade of elongated spade shape with an integral sub-rectangular tang. The object is probably cast, though thinned by sharpening. The cutting edges are slightly curved, as are or were - two being slightly damaged - the angles at the outer edges of blade and tang. The object is flat in section, though if the blade is held between finger and thumb there is a tactile impression of slight thinning towards the edge. The form closely resembles that of NLM-EF1AB4, which is identified as a Middle Bronze Age razor of Piggott Class 1. Suggested date: Middle Bronze Age, 1600-1000 BC.

Length: 45.6mm, Width: 20.2mm, Thickness: 1.3mm, Weight: 3.64gms


At first sight this appears as a two-dimensional skeuomorph of a barbed and tanged arrowhead [without barbs in this case] cut from sheet metal. The edges are lightly abraded but retain their sharpness. The finder has solicited the opinion of Peter Reavill concerning this object, and Peter's comments are rehearsed below [Notes]. Arising from the points he makes: the section is indeed virtually flat, and there is neither relief from use of a flint arrowhead as a master, nor a mid-rib. Tanged arrowheads, albeit of a distinctive three-dimensional form quite different to this, were used by Scythian auxillaries in Persian armies of the 5th to 4th centuries BC, and their distinctive archery equipment is depicted by coins and sculpture of the later Roman period. This object, however, lacks the robusticity of a weapon and its thin tang would be liable to bend or break on impact. Tanged arrowheads of iron are also known from the Roman and later periods, and may have fitted to shafts made from hollow reeds or cane.

Peter Reavill kindly comments as follows: 'I've had a look at your images of the barbed and tanged arrowhead and it seems to have some patinated age - as you may know this is an object type which is still being explored and it may well look different in different counties / regions. [Examples on the Portable Antiquities Database] include and

There seems to be two major forms - both of which are cast:

1. Cast directly from a flint arrowhead

2. A two part mould with clear median bevel / central rib

Looking at your images - your example look quite flat (but then that is what happens with photos) - if you think it has a raised mid rib which will probably ascend from the tang then it is probably similar. Although yours does have a look that it is formed from a sheet metal which has been cut around. But that is the problem with looking at things remotely'.

The finder also kindly draws attention to a website reference to objects of similar appearance, apparentlyfrom a Spanish source:

By José Manuel Benito Álvarez -> Locutus Borg [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Class: Piggott Class 1

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod from: Middle
Period from: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod to: Middle
Period to: BRONZE AGE
Date from: Circa AD 1600
Date to: Circa AD 1000

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 45.6 mm
Width: 20.2 mm
Thickness: 1.3 mm
Weight: 3.64 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Tuesday 5th June 2018

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Martin Foreman
Identified by: Mr Martin Foreman
Secondary identifier: Mr Peter Reavill

Other reference numbers

Other reference: NLM39570

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

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

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 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: 6 months ago
Updated: 5 months ago

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