Weapons of mass distraction – Part 4*

*The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted already that I’ve missed out Part 3.

Alas, because of a pre-existing work commitment, I wasn’t able to get to the project last week. The work commitment was in Leeds, which is where the main site for the Royal Armouries collection is located, but I didn’t even have time to go and have a look, so I can’t even report back on that 😦

Never mind. I was there this week and even more raring to get stuck into the archive material.

We were working on registered finds, so we all just chose a box and got stuck in.


I had a collection of, mostly, metal small finds; copper-alloy and iron, but with a couple of balls of lead shot and a few other bits and bobs thrown in.

I had things like these buttons


Chris had a bag of these rather fine nails


The recovery of objects like this tiny, piece of fine twisted wire just goes to show the skill of, and care taken by the excavators, especially bearing in mind that this came out of foreshore mud.


There were also several pieces more specifically associated with arms. A broken steel top jaw: this is one of the bits that holds the flint of a flintlock pistol or rifle in place. The image below shows where it would have sat in the flintlock’s firing mechanism.


800px-Flintlock arrow

Two ramrod fittings; a ferral – the bit that holds the ramrod in place in its holder:


And a tip, from the end of the ramrod, with some of the wooden ramrod still present.


A couple of balls of lead shot. The one in front is approx. 2.5cm diameter, so it’d do some pretty nasty damage.


There was also this jetton/coin (it was registered as a jetton). It’s tiny, only approx 1cm diameter. If anyone can help with identifing this, please do get in touch.



4 thoughts on “Weapons of mass distraction – Part 4*

  1. Give me the other side of the coin, please….also a somewhat sharper pic. From what I can see it is probably what is variously called a minim or an AE4. One or another of the house of Constantine. But there are some pesky imitators of this style, Gothic coins (not likely in the UK), even Victorian era buttons and awards (look for the word Ludens on those last ones).

  2. Perhaps VICTORIA AUGG? Several late emperors used this reverse, the GG indicating the split between East and West after Theodosius left the family business to his half wit sons.

    • Hi ‘Tacitus’, this certainly does look like a coin (not a jetton) but the obverse is very worn indeed. It was found in a post-med context, but that mixing of material is not at all unusual in foreshore contexts. When I’m going back to the Tower on Tuesday I’ll take my other camera, which is better at close-ups, and get some better shots of it.

  3. Sometimes you can’t tell. But VICTOR to the left and IA to the right. With about enough room for AUG or AUGG. Probably something from Honorius or a few decades before. Unlikely to be any of the interesting very late Emps….at that time Londinium was “under new management”.


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