Roman weights were used as a unit of measurement. There were different units used among the Romans including libra which is the equivalent to today’s pound (lb). The weights were commonly used to weigh silver and gold to find out the true value for commercial transactions. Lead was a popular material used among the Roman period. It is a soft metal, making it easy to manipulate, but it also keeps with age and does not corrode like others such as iron. Therefore it was a favoured metal and was used for many purposes. Lead was utilised for pots, dishes, coins and even accessories, such as hair pins, buckles and brooches. Steelyards and weights were commonly produced from the material.
Selection of Roman Lead Weights
A selection of Roman lead weights, all featuring a square shape. Each piece varies in size and therefore in weight. They are each either incised or pierced with small circles. The number of dots differ from one to six. The backs are plain and unadorned.
The weights range in size from the largest at 2.9cm wide to the smallest at 1.1cm wide.
Provenance: Ex Simmons Gallery, London E11, UK, in the 1990s. From a North London collection
Condition: Fine condition, patination and wear from age.