Weapons of mass distraction: slag and frags

Alongside some interesting objects from the archive, today’s post is also going to feature some mysterious frags. Look out for those later.

But first here’s a lovely copper alloy fitting found by Alan.


We wondered out loud what this could have been for, and I was wondering whether it was associated with the similar fittings that came out of one of the boxes earlier on in the project.


It clearly folds over and the two ends probably clasped together with the small pin, so perhaps it was a strap-end (?).

And Chris happened across this object:


I’m not sure what it was labelled as. It’s very spindly for a nail, and has no screw-thread or other markings that might suggest it’s a bolt, but a quick pass under the expert eye of one of the specialists resulted in the suggestion that it could possibly be a pistol ramrod. We’ve already had a few other little bits of ramrod and ramrod fittings, so it’s interesting to see what could be a more substantial section of one.

Guy had loads of these giant iron staples. Perhaps these were used for fencing, or maybe just general repairs to timber structures.


And so to frags.

Today’s boxes contained a disproportionate number of ‘frags’. Bits of things, identifiable and mysterious, all different sizes and in varying states of preservation. Bags and bags of them, meticulously recovered from the foreshore by the archaeologists.

Many of these fragments, most of the ones I had, were iron and so prone to corrosion and  significant deterioration over time. This is the continuation of the process begun when the objects were still in the foreshore, and many of them (the ones below are nails) were probably pretty far gone to start with. So even though these objects are not badly stored, over time a bag of nails becomes a bag of nails and a bag of dust/rust (the lumps in the second image below are literally lumps of rust that just flake off the nails, some with stones stuck to them).

P1200809 P1200810

The frags below left are rivet frags, but I’ve no idea what the ones below right are/were.

P1200788 P1200799

Mind you, not all frags look like these unidentifiable lumps of rusty metal. Some frags look like this:


Last week Alan audited one of two fragments of pilgrim badge listed in the excavation report and, wouldn’t you know it, he got the other pilgrim frag too. This one is a part of a St. Thomas Becket pilgrim badge, which would have looked something like one of these (from the Museum of London’s collection):

becket 3 1becket 22

Clearly, neither of these exactly match Alan’s frag, but you get the idea. It’s the centre front part of the collar/sash of the saint’s clothing.

Oh yeah, and here’s the slag:


1. http://collections.museumoflondon.org.uk/Online/object.aspx?objectID=object-37242&start=162&rows=1

2. http://collections.museumoflondon.org.uk/Online/object.aspx?objectID=object-29287&start=99&rows=1


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