Length: 572.000 mm
Weight: 68.270 kg
Room 49: Roman Britain
Lead pig (ingot)
Roman Britain, AD 76
From Hints Common, Staffordshire
Lead was widely used in the Roman world, both as a constituent of bronze and pewter and in its own right, In particular, its density and malleability were especially well-suited to the manufacture of weights and waterproofing materials, including pipes, water tanks and roof flashing.
Lead was obtained as a by-product of silver mining from the ore galena. Until the second century AD, this meant that lead production was often under the control of the Emperor. The inscription on this ingot reads IMP.VESP.VII.T.IMP.V.COS, which translates '[Cast] while the Emperor Vespasian was consul for the seventh time, and Titus, imperator, consul for the fifth time.' These titles date the ingot to AD 76. The letters DECEANG on the side of the ingot show that the lead was quarried in the territory of the Deceangli, the tribe living in the north-eastern corner of Wales. The ingot was found in 1771 on the line of the Roman road known as Watling Street. It may have fallen from a wagon on its way to the south-east.