Roman, 1st-4th century AD
Found during excavations by Winchester Museums Service Archaeology Section at Victoria Road, Winchester in the mid- to late 1970s
This object weighs 1.419kg, about 5.5 Roman pounds, although it would have originally been slightly heavier, as the iron suspension loop is missing. In Roman times, the equal armed balance (libra) and the steelyard (statera) were both used in Winchester. As the weight is so large, it is most likely to have been used with a libra, as the statera allows heavy weights to be measured using a comparatively light counterbalance. The necessity for accuracy in weighing different commodities was not an innovation of the Roman period, however. Carefully made stone weights fitted with iron suspension loops and probably conforming to a standard system of measurement have also been found on Iron Age sites.
Photo by John Crook.