Skip Navigation

 Museum Explorer

Warfare in
Roman Britain

Javelin heads

Length: 55.000 cm
Length: 55.000 cm

P&EE 1892 9-1 1110-1111

Javelin heads

From: the Roman fort site at Hod Hill, Dorset
Date: 1st century AD

These iron 'javelin' heads are the tips of throwing spears, called pila. Pila spears look like the javelins we use in sport today. They would have been about two metres long with a thin wooden shaft and handle. The iron tips fitted into the top of the shaft.

Groups of Roman soldiers would throw these at the enemy opposite them. The narrow points were so hard and sharp they would pierce shields and armour, but as the long stem was made of soft iron, they bent on impact so they could not be thrown back by the enemy.