Roman Steelyard Chain & Hook

chain and hook from a roman steelyard

Iron chain with lead & copper alloy weight from a Roman Steelyard

The iron chain and attached lead and copper alloy weight was discovered in June 2004 from a watching-brief at Hartcliffe School, Bristol. The object was discovered within a context containing Romano-British pottery. The chain and lead weight probably came from a Roman Steelyard—a form of weighing scale. The chain and weight would be attached to a bar on one side, with a dish or hook attached to the other side of the bar. It is believed that the weights would be moved along the bar until it was balanced with the dish.

close up of the hook from a roman steelyard

Close-up of the hook weight

The chain was found to consist of c100 small iron links and was broken into two lengths. The links are tangled and fused by corrosion and soil. The hooked weight was found to consist of copper-alloy as well as lead and measured 15mm x 32mm. Similar examples have been discovered in Caernarfon, Kingsmead near Cirencester and Whitehall villa in Northamptonshire.

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