Weapons of mass distraction – Part 6

I was at the Tower this week, hotfoot from Bristol and having had about 3 hours sleep (who can sleep with Loop in their head?).

Anyway, enough of all that.

It has been pointed out to me, quite correctly as it happens, that I haven’t featured any of Alan’s artifacts in the blog, so I’m starting this week with Alan’s magnificent bag of slag.


Steady on. Ok, it might not look like much, but it is evidence of the industrial processes being carried out at the riverside workshops. Slag =smelting, so this early stage in the production process must have been carried out at the site. Not necessarily on a very large scale, but it seems that there was at least some ore processing going on.

More from Alan later.

Today, a number of gun parts emerged from the boxes:

A flint lock frizzon                                                                    A flint lock trigger

P1130263   P1130264  

2 gun cartridge lynch pins                                                  A gun cocking arm

P1130269  P1130278

An iron bayonet tip


I think that I’ll be drawing together all of the gun parts that we’ve seen so far into a ‘know your flintlock’ diagram shortly, so watch this space.

Back to Alan, and what the devil is this? An original note directs us to “Ask Bob”. Bob?

P1130274  P1130275

Well it’s called a loop. The slotted end holds a cleaning patch which is used for cleaning the bore of the gun’s barrel.

And what’s this? It’s about 3cm long and has a copper-alloy stalk with a lead (?) socket on the end.

P1130266 P1130267

The, potentially, saddest find was this ring.


A plain gold band, looks like a man’s size. It has no hallmark, so it may have been made overseas. Is it a wedding band? What happened? Lost? Consigned to the Thames in a fit of rage, or despair? Hmm.

And finally, finally!, here’s that coin again…



And so the initial six week pilot project comes to an end, but watch this space because we’re expecting that there will be some updates and developments.


3 thoughts on “Weapons of mass distraction – Part 6

  1. I have squinted as much as possible on that coin. My conclusions *

    First it is bronze and late. The convention is that this style of coin when less than 17mm is designated AE4.
    Second that the reverse actually is some variation on VICTORIA. I know, it looks as if there is ATOR there but various blobs of oxidates will try to fool you. Far less common reverses such as IOVI CONSERVATOR tend to be earlier, larger and the ATOR part should be on the end of the inscription.
    Thirdly it appears that the amorphous blob on the obverse is male. This is a “diademed” portrait which tends to run from Constantine the Great onward. C.the G. reformed the coinage and created the AE4 class anyways.
    A few entries can be excluded by the reverse having a single figure on it.
    I think finally we can exclude anybody after Honorius for obvious reasons of barbarian apocalypse.

    So, the two candidates that are trying to fit the above are:
    EUGENIUS from 392 to 394, a 13mm coin. Or
    MAGNUS MAXIMUS from 383 to 388, a 15mm coin.

    Of the two Max seems more in keeping with where it was found and with the vague outlines of the portrait. Eugenius had a longer, taller head and a beard.

    Hope this helps a bit…

    *Nobody really studies these late, rubbish coins that much. They are poorly made, typos and mis-strikes were common. Even the size can fool you…your 1cm coin could be worn down along the edges from an earlier larger one. The best source I have on hand is Roman Coins by David R. Sear but it is no doubt short of comprehensive.

    • Changed my mind. I think this is a coin unlisted by Sear but attributed to Arcadius. Eastern emperors circulated coin in the West and vice versa. I am borrowing the coin images, with credit to you, for a post of my own on Monday. With pigeons. Tacitus

      • Hi Tim,
        sorry, I’ve hardly looked at this since I posted it. Too much on this week.

        You are welcome to use the images. If anyone can name that coin, I can properly update the record at the Armouries with more detail.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.