Recovered Relics

Below are actual photos of some of the many relics I have recovered from the United States and the United Kingdom. I have included detailed sample photos for reference if my recovered item was in rough shape. All of these are "natural" finds. I have never participated in a seeded hunt.

Medieval Lead Seal Matrix (1100s-1400s)

This seal was recovered very close to Whittington Castle in March of 2018 and reads "The Seal of William".

Info by - A seal matrix is normally used for making an impression on a wax seal, to authenticate a document or to fix it closed. They have a design and inscription, usually added to the matrix by engraving, which can bear the name, arms or monogram of their owner. This was recovered very close to Whittington Castle.

seal seal

Medieval Lead Trade Weight (1100s-1400s)

Five gram round lead trade weight.

Medieval lead trade weight Medieval lead trade weight

Medieval Lead Spindle Whorl (1100s-1400s)

Spindle whorls were used to make thread. A dowel was inserted through the hole, to which plant fibers or wool were attached. The whorl was then spun in order to twist and compress the fibers into a thread.

Info from the FLO - general north west (Shropshire and Cheshire) form of spindle whorl that is (bi-convex) flying saucer shaped with radial lines segmenting the upper and lower faces. Within each area are single (or sometimes double) pellets. They seem to be related to the Cheshire plain area / North Shropshire and Cheshire, but extend up to Lancashire and down to Herefordshire.

spindle whorl spindle whor

Roman/Medieval Steelyard Weight (1100s-1400s)

The steelyard weight was used as a counterweight on a steelyard balance while measuring a specific item. The weight would be hung from the yardarm of the steelyard balance while the item being weighed would be hung at the other end. The weight could be adjusted along the yardarm until the weight and the item being measured reached equilibrium, at which point the weight of the item could then be read from the scale engraved on the beam.

weight weight

Medieval Lead Spindle Whorls and Loom Weights (1100s-1500s)

spindle whorl loom weights

Buckles, Buckles, Buckles (1500-1800s)

Hundreds of buckles recovered in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Buckles Buckles

King James I Trade Weight (1603-1625)

Quarter of an ounce round trade weight of James 1st circa 1603-25. The weight is of the 'stacking cup' type. The upper has the following stamped marks, the sword of St Paul, an ewer (the London Founders mark), and a crowned 'I' to denote James 1st.

King James I Trade Weight King James I Trade Weight

Crotal Bells (1500-1700)

I found both of these crotal bells two plugs apart on my March 2020 UK metal detecting trip. I never dug a crotal bell before this trip, really weird I found two within minutes of each other. One is believed to be from the 1500s and the other 1700s.

Crotal Bells

Crotal Bell (1600s-1800s)

I found this crotal bell on my September 2023 UK metal detecting trip. Oddly, I've only ever found three crotal bells and all were from the same farm in the UK.

bell bell

Lead Sundial (1500-1700?)

I found this lead sundial on my September 2019 UK metal detecting trip. Found on a field that had a lot of KG I and KG II coins. It's amazing to think that someone actually used this! If you're knowledgeable with sundials, please send me any period dating info you may have. Thanks!

Lead Sundial Lead Sundial

Barrel Tap Keys (1700-1800)

A Spigot was more commonly known as a Barrel Tap. Unlike most taps which had the handle attached to the tap to turn it on or off, these barrel taps had a handle that was separate from the main body and was commonly known as a key. This key opened and closed the tap.

Wooden Barrels had a wooden plug sometimes known as a bung hole. A spigot was hit with a wooden mallet into the bung hole pushing the wooden plug into the barrel of the beer keg which allowed access to the liquid contents via the tap. The person who had access to the key was able to control who had access to the beer, or more importantly, how much was consumed.

Identification source:

Barrel Tap 1 Barrel Tap 2

British Brass Coin Weight (1770s)

Portuguese 1/4 moidore of 6 shillings 9 pence value.

Identification source:

coin weight coin weight

Georgian Bell Trade Weight (1714-1837)

The Georgian era is a period in British history from 1714 to c. 1830–37, named after the Hanoverian kings George I, George II, George III and George IV. The sub-period that is the Regency era is defined by the regency of George IV as Prince of Wales during the illness of his father George III.

Georgian Bell Trade Weight Georgian Bell Trade Weight

Lead Bale Seals (1600s-1700s) and some odd bits

Recovered in the United Kingdom.

bale seals bits

Jew's Harp / Jaw Harp / Mouth Harp (1600s-1800s)

A musical instrument set between the teeth and "twanged" with the fingers.

harp harp

Thimbles and Watch Winders (1700s-1800s)

Recovered in the United States and the United Kingdom.

thimbles winders

Independence Hall Memento (1700s-1800s)

A theory shared with me by other detectorists is that it's some kind of memento (poured lead mold), perhaps celebrating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence at Independence Hall.

I am proud to say that in January 2018, this relic was donated to the Independence National Historical Park, National Park Service, US Department of the Interior at the request of the Chief Curator.

Independence Hall Memento Independence Hall Memento

Smokehouse Lock - 1830s-1870s

Smokehouses rose in popularity as they were a means of preserving food, but the structure was under constant threat of theft by animals and humans alike. The answer would simply be called the smokehouse padlock. These wrought iron padlocks were made with warded keyways so that notches on the key would have to fit the specific obstructions in the keyway. A hole in the key would fit in a protrusion on the inside of the lock, which would provide a swivel point for the key to line up with the warding. (source:

Smokehouse Lock Smokehouse Lock

Member of The Historical Society of Pennsylvania and The New Jersey Historical Society.

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