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 Museum Explorer

Tools & technology in Anglo-Saxon England

Balance and coin weights

Diameter: 40.000 mm (pans)
Diameter: 40.000 mm (pans)
Diameter: 40.000 mm (pans)

M&ME 1963,11-8.752

Balance and coin weights

From: Dover, England
Date: 6th century AD

When this balance was made, in the sixth century, people had forgotten how to use coins in Britain. These coins were Roman and had gone out of date hundreds of years before. But the warrior in whose grave they were found had discovered a use for them. He used them as weights on this balance to measure out gold and silver. The balance was held in the hand, the coins were then put in one of the pans and the gold or silver weighed against them in the other.

Can you see a mark on the side of some of the coins? This shows that they are weights and not to be used as money.