Details for Lead Alloy

This material should be used if the object looks leady, but is rather too light. Many lead alloys are alloyed with tin, but in most cases (because lead is cheap!) the lead content will be higher than the tin. The experience of the Museum of London is that it is pretty much impossible to tell when a lead/tin alloy is mostly lead, or mostly tin, apart from the weight. There seems also to be little significance in which alloy is chosen. Ancient 'pewter' is also a lead/tin alloy; the word 'pewter' can be used in the Description field.

Our first choice for a leady object is 'lead' rather than 'lead alloy'; this contrasts with a coppery object, when we use 'copper alloy' unless we are sure that it is reasonably pure copper. This is for two reasons: firstly because copper is normally deliberately alloyed, whereas fairly pure lead is quite commonly used; and secondly because the term 'lead alloy' is convenient to keep solely for these light lead-tin alloys which do not contain copper.

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Linked data

British Museum URI: 11095

Latest examples recorded with images

We have recorded 17,567 examples.

Record: PUBLIC-AB57F7
Object type: STEELYARD WEIGHT
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: A large lead biconical Roman steelyard wei…
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Record: LVPL-942D3C
Object type: VESSEL
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: Description: An incomplete lead alloy sa…
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Record: LVPL-88F05F
Object type: WEIGHT
Broadperiod: UNKNOWN
Description: A lead alloy weight of uncertain date. The…
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Record: IOW-6A3379
Object type: UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT
Broadperiod: UNKNOWN
Description: An incomplete lead alloy object of Unknown…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind awaiting validation

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