It is likely that in an average days metal detecting, you will find many bits of old lead. In times gone by, lead was a valuable source, and was used for making so many different kinds of artefacts. This included Buttons, Weights, Seals to name a few.
One piece of lead that you may find is a potmend. I must admit that until recently I had no idea what one was. So my guess is there are others who may not know either.
From Roman times, when a valued ceramic pot got cracked, rather than chuck it, they mended it. The easiest way to do this was to drill a hole at the end of the crack and then pour molten lead into it whilst placing a flat object at the back to stop the lead all running away.
This formed a plug of lead in the hole with a larger splayed out and flattened area of lead both inside and outside the pot. This both sealed the hole and stopped any further cracking. Most of these are small but all are of a very distinctive shape with two flat areas separated by a thin, circular plug in the centre.
Some of these potmends will come complete with a bit of pottery, still intact. Others will have worked their way free. The potmend method was used all the way through to medieval times.
Here are a couple of examples
My thanks must go to Tom on UKDetectornet, who helped educate me on the above.
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Thursday, 16 September 2010
16th September 2010
SPINK TO SELL RARE GOLD ‘DISS’ TORC AT AUCTION
Spink is pleased to announce the sale of a fine and rare gold torc, from the Iron Age of Great Britain, dated approximately 150 to 50BC. The ‘Diss’ torc, so named because it was discovered in the Diss area of Norfolk, is estimated to fetch between £25,000 and £35,000 when it comes up for auction on the 30th September 2010 at Spink’s headquarters in London.
When the torc was originally discovered, it was not recognized as such a rare and valuable item. However, when brought into Spink earlier this year it was immediately identified as a gold torc. It is very similar to others uncovered in East Anglia in the famous Snettisham finds now housed in the British Museum. After completion of the treasure review process it was returned to the owner with confirmation that it was indeed an Iron Age gold torc. Spink was then asked to offer this prestigious item for public auction.
Gold torcs are extremely rare and among the finest examples of pre-Roman Celtic metalwork. The word ‘torc’ actually comes from the Latin word Torquis, which literally means “to twist”. This is a fitting title for such an item as the torc resembles a necklace of thick twisted wires of gold. Many will recognize this piece immediately from the Hellenistic sculpture of The Dying Gaul, who is wearing a torc around his neck. The torc was a symbol of high social standing in the Iron Age. It was thought to be a decoration awarded to great warriors as a way of commemorating their fearlessness on the battlefield.
The sale of the ‘Diss’ torc offers a rare opportunity for collectors to acquire an example of high status Celtic metalwork. Spink anticipate a great deal of interest in this item from buyers around the globe as this is the first time in many decades that a gold torc from the British Iron age has been available on the open market.
Spink is the world’s leading auctioneer of coins, stamps, medals, banknotes, bonds, share certificates and autographs, with offices in London, Singapore, New York and Dallas. Since its foundation in 1666, the Spink name has become synonymous with tradition, experience and integrity. Holders of three royal warrants and numerous records for prices achieved at auction, Spink offer an unparalleled range of services to collectors worldwide.
Posted by googy at 09:30