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The Trimontium Museum Archive

Iron Spearhead: NMS ref X.FRA 183

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Video copyright National Museums Scotland

This iron spearhead with ownership graffito in punched dots was found with four others in pit XVI by Curle in his 1905-1910 excavations.

It dates to the first century (Flavian) period. The inscription is damaged therefore some of the letters are uncertain. 

The inscription possibly reads:

© National Museums Scotland, X.FRA 171

.. TIVN | T BA

t(urma) Iun(i)(?) | t (urma) Ba(…)
‘troop of Iunius (?), troop of Ba(…)’

Curl’s reports in 1911,188, Professor Haverfield suggests the reading T·IVN·BA, could possibly be TURMA·JUNII·BASSI.

Dr Fraser Hunter and Lawrence Keppie, 2012, 143 suggest that ‘the inscription may indicate successive owners’.

All five spearheads were found in outstanding condition. They measure roughly, inclusive of the socket, 12., 11., 11.,10 & 5/8th, and 6. inches in length. Most consist of very slender necks, where blade and socket join, but the metal always deepens towards the point. The sockets had been created by turning over the flat metal layer, from which the spear has been pounded, and creating the edges to bind together.

On the opposite side, the spear-head was fixed to the stem.

© National Museums Scotland, X.FRA 171
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