I am a finds researcher working at the Museum of London Specialist Services
and was wondering if anyone can help with three rather odd weights which
were found during excvations at Beckenham, Kent. I imagine they are probably
loomweights but given their form and weight, could they be another type of
Three large ceramic weights, each with a central perforation and a very
definate upper and lower surface, the lower surface being flat (obviously
the surface they lay on when being formed). The fabric is similar to that
of the pottery, but slightly more sandy; it is well-fired and closer to tile
than daub. These weights are much larger and flatter than any loomweights
found in the Middle Saxon period or in Late Saxon contexts in the City of
London. Their function is thus uncertain. Two weights have signs of
blackening through exposure to heat, but they are not at all vitrified.
Their details are as follows:
Diam = diameter of whole object; T = thickness of ring, as viewed from
above; H = depth of ring, as viewed from side.
<1> Near complete; Diam 135-145mm, T 61-68mm, H33-45mm (thickest point at
centre), Diam of central hole 21-26mm, Wt 1001gm. Annular weight; thickest
at the centre around the hole. Upper and lower surfaces uneven and chipped
in places; part of one edge blackened and crumbly through burning. Up to
five small stab marks on one surface - possibly to aid firing?
<2> Near complete; Diam c 160mm, T 65-73mm, H 33-43mm (thickest point at
centre), Diam of central hole 22-27mm, Wt 1151gm. Annular weight; thickest
at the centre around the hole. Bottom surface flattened, upper surface more
uneven and slightly chipped. Burnt and blackened towards one side of edge.
<3> Incomplete; Diam c 152mm, T 61-67mm, H 36 - c 47mm (thickest point at
centre), Diam of hole 19-27mm, Wt 894gm. Annular weight; almost all of outer
edge and upper surface chipped and missing. Lower surface smoothed and
partly blackened by burning.
Any ideas would be gratefully received! If you would like to see what they
look like I have some digital photos of the weights which I can email
separately to anyone who would like to have a look!