This artefact is now featured on the BBC History of The World.
The archaeological importance of the weights is that they provide a secure terminus post quem for the wreck.
Two lead, disc-shaped, pan weights have been found, one of 1 lb, the other of 2 lbs. Both were made by the Worshipful Company of Plumbers of London and stamped with a crowned EL, the monogram of Queen Elizabeth.. The crown is of Edward I-type with alternating fleurs-de-lys and pearls across the top, and a line of pearls along the head-band. To the right of the monogram is the sword of the Archangel Michael (or St Paul according to some), also known as the Guildhall Dagger, symbolizing the City of London. Its use was first recorded in 1381, but a more fulsome mention appears in a 1488 ordinance of Henry VII: ‘Every plumber in the city to have in his house … a four pound, a two pound and a one pound weight sealed with the seal of the Guldhall’.
The archaeological importance of the weights is that they provide a secure terminus post quem for the wreck. EL was introduced on 16 December 1587 by a royal proclamation that was not fully enacted until after the Armada year of 1588. Wear indicates that the weights were not new at the time of the vessel’s loss, which puts the date of the wreck into the 1590s (see Chronology, nationality and identity).
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Click the button below to buy one or more pan weight replicas, which are the ideal gift, particularly for someone who is really difficult to buy for, or that person who has everything! They make great paperweights and come in a presentation box with an information sheet. Ideal for Christmas or birthdays!
Smith, B., 1997, ‘Inquiry into two lead weights found on a wreck in Alderney‘, international Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 26.2, 133-143
Smith, B., 2001, in A Ship Cast Away About Alderney (Jason Monaghan & Mensun Bound, eds., 120 -125