PAS Finds

PAS Finds: week ended 5 August

PAS Finds: week ended 5 August

My selection of the detecting finds recorded at the PAS during the week ended 5 August 2022.

Featured Find

William III sixpence triangular charm

Photo: Sussex Archaeological Society
Period: Post-Medieval
Date found: 03/08/2022
Location: Lewes, east Sussex

A William III sixpence that has been folded into a triangular shape. Coins, particularly William III sixpences, bent into an S shape are a reasonably common detecting find but this triangular form is a unique find on the PAS database and has been designated a Find of Note of County Importance.

Purpose of bending coin

There was a widespread custom of bending coins in the Medieval period an would commonly be part of the process of making an oath. A coin would be bent when a vow was made to a saint to go on a pilgrimage. The bending of the coin would take it from being money to a spiritual object with amuletic properties.

There is some debate as to the purpose of “S” shaped William III sixpences. The most popular explanation is that they were a love or betrothal token. The PAS record for this find suggests that the triangular form of this find may represent a heart and therefore a love token.

It also acknowledges that it could be a lucky pocket piece. Bent William III sixpences are usually worn smooth. This could be because coins with a lot of circulation wear were chosen, they were deliberately smoothed or perhaps they were worn smooth by being rubbed for good luck, possibly on part of the body as a charm to promote healing.

Selection of other finds

Photo: Surrey County Council CC By SA2.0

Ramrod holder from a musket

A copper-alloy ramrod holder from a post-medieval musket.
Photo: The Portable Antiquities Scheme CC By SA2.0

Pipe tamper in the form of Mercury

A 18th or 19th century pipe tamper in the form of the Roman god Mercury. Romano-British figurines were copied to produce object such as pipe tampers and where the tamper has broken off, as in this case, it can lead to them to being mis-identified as of Roman origin.
Photo: Norfolk County Council

“Stuart enamel” style harness fitting

A strap or harness fitting which is decorated with yellow and white enamel in the style of Stuart Enamels. It has been dated to the mid to late 17th century.
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