There was a request from our press department a few days ago for pictures of any objects in our collections whos use and purpose was a mystery. I think they were thinking about our mansion-house collections, but ever on the look out for ways to get the word out about archaeology, I sent them a picture of a little mystery from our excavations at Corfe Castle.
Lead and Iron mystery object from Corfe Castle excavations
This strange object is made from lead or a lead alloy with an iron rod extending inside the cylinder. The main ideas are that it is something military, as we found it in an early 17th Century layer in the castle, the time when the castle was involved in the English civil war. Or it may have been a light fitting, or……………….
It may be one of those objects that was made to do a certain job were there wasn’t already a tool for. Like many of the strange and wonderful tools in many sheds and garages around the world 🙂
Right at the bottom of one of the boxes at Godolphin we found this sheet of lead. We put it down to look at later thinking it was just plain old lead sheeting. But as the light changed through the afternoon it revealed that it was far from plain.
If you look closely you can make out marks where someone has been pinching or tapping the lead to make a picture of a bird, it looks like a Hawk with maybe jesses attached.
Detail of the head and breast
Malcolm, the development manager at Godolphin and with a life times experience on the property soon identified what this lead sheet had been used for and even where it had come from on the property. If it is turned 90 degrees there is a pale area in the middle this is where it has been protected by a drain pipe and the kink is where the lead has been hammered round a stone on the wall. The sheet is where there is a joint in the pipe and would protect the wall if there was a leak in the joint. Malcolm told me that there are lots of places where lead has been marked by scratched graffiti or engraved with images. I feel a new volunteer project in the offing 🙂