Bringing Wirral's past back to life

Wirral Archaeology


Finds from Wirral


Here is a selection of the groups recent finds of buckles.

They date from as early as AD500 through to around AD1650. All are copper alloy and all are recorded on the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) with the British Museum.

All were recovered from Wirral.


From top left we have an unusual find. A small d-shaped copper alloy buckle which has been dated by PAS as from AD500-700 which is classed as early medieval. This is normally described as from the 5th or 6th century AD through to the 10th century.

A search on the PAS database using the geographic area of Wirral shows that there are only 12 items recorded from this period. Wirral Archaeology have found and recorded 11 of these 12 items so we are actively adding to the historical story of Wirral.

Middle top is another small copper alloy buckle. Described by PAS as medieval this one is dated from AD1300-1400. You can see where the (now lost) pin was.

Top right is another copper alloy buckle dated AD1300-1500

On the bottom left row we have a larger decorated copper alloy buckle dated from AD1350-1450. This still has a moving pin.

Bottom middle is a copper alloy post medieval buckle dated AD1500-1650. Again the slight recess where the pin would have sat can be seen.

Finally bottom right we have another post medieval find. It is a copper alloy unit with a lovely patina. It has been dated from AD1500-1650. This example still has the pin fitted.

Wirral Archaeology CIC.

Interested in finding out more about what we do then get in touch – Contact 



ROMAN Steelyard Weights

ROMAN Steelyard weights

Finds from Wirral

LVPL-391B06 – ROMAN Steelyard Weights

 ROMAN Steelyard weights
Recent Finds. Steelyard Weights  

These are a couple of our recent finds that have been placed onto the Portable Antiquities Scheme. (

On the left is a Roman (AD43-410) bi-conical steelyard weight. It weighs 131.8 grams 

PAS reference. LVPL-391B06

A steelyard is a portable scale with beam arms of unequal length and weights are moved along on a scale. They are used to weigh relatively large items of multiple kilograms either domestically or commercially.

These are the weights that would be hung from the beam arms from hooks in the weights. The left one has an iron core which can be seen at each end but any hooks by which it was suspended have rusted away.

Most steelyard weights recorded on PAS are Roman. 

On the right is another Steelyard weight. This is rounded and is also listed as possibly Roman (AD 43-410) and it weighs  95.2 grams. This weight has a cast in iron centre but again the loop or hook by which it would be suspended has rusted away. 


 It must be stressed that it is also possible that the right hand one may be a later weight. 

PAS state that medieval weights usually had a copper alloy shell so it is likely to be either Roman or later Post Medieval.

Both were found in close proximity to each other and will hopefully add some more pieces to our investigation of Wirral history.

Wirral Archaeology CIC.

Interested in finding out more about what we do then get in touch – Contact 

Early Medieval – Weight

Finds from Wirral


A lovely little weight or gaming piece dated AD850-1100.
Portable Antiquities Scheme statement:
A lead weight or gaming piece dating from the early medieval period onwards (c.AD 850-1100).The object is domed with a flat base, flat sides and a domed top. It is undecorated and has a dark grey patina.Dimensions: Length 13.48mm; diameter 16.96mm; weight 26.9gThe exact function and date of the object is uncertain. Weights such as these that were found outside of archaeological contexts are difficult to date because their use and style remains continuous from the Roman period onwards. Biggs and Withers (2000: 30) note that standing weights made of lead were still used in comparatively recent times. This particular object may have an early medieval date. The predominant Viking Age systems of measurement for bullion is described in NLM-F17E5A as based on units of 4.07gms in Scandinavia, or 4.34gms Viking Dublin, and by extension the contemporary ‘kingdom’ of York. If interpreted as a weight, this object could represent roughly 6 of the Viking Dublin unit (see: Haldenby and Kershaw 2014).

Another possible function is a gaming piece. At Torksey (Lincs), the Viking camp/settlement, solid lead pieces were classed as weights and hollow examples as gaming pieces. It is thought the hollow shape allowed them to be stacked (Hadley and Richards 2016, p.48, note 79, fig. 26). Given the close dating to the Viking Dublin unit, it is less likely the object is a gaming piece.

Read the detailed and interesting assessment relating to its weight and possible use at the below link to the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

History and Heritage Fair – Brunanburh

Vikings line up for battle

Wirral Archaeology CiC at Port Sunlight History and Heritage Fair – the Battle of Brunanburh

The Battle of Brunanburh is the theme for our stand at this year’s History and Heritage Fair in Port Sunlight on 25th March.

In the year 937 a great battle was fought between the Anglo-Saxon king, Æthelstan, leading a combined Mercian and West Saxon army and a coalition of forces led by Anlaf Guthfrithson, the ruler of Dublin, and Constantine, king of Alba (part of modern Scotland).

The two sides met at a place recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as Brunanburh.

The location of Brunanburh has remained a bit of a mystery but Wirral Archaeology CIC as well as several leading historians believe that battle took place on the Wirral.

The reason for Anlaf and Constantine challenging Æthelstan is often debated but since he came to the throne in 927 he had pursued an aggressive expansionist policy. By 937 the borders of Æthelstan’s kingdom closely match those of modern day England. In the course of securing these borders Æthelstan had wrested control of York from Anlaf’s father, Gurthfrith, and invaded Alba and Strathclyde forcing their kings, Constantine and Owain ap Dyfnwal to recognise him as their lord.

In the autumn of 937 these three kings along with men from other viking settlements in Ireland, the Isle of Mann and the Hebrides joined forces with the aim of forcing Æthelstan back into his own kingdom.

The battle, although a costly affair, was a victory for Æthelstan and ensured that his achievements would be remembered and he himself could arguably be called the first King of England.

To find out more, contact us or visit WitralInfoBank

For more information on Wirral Archaeology’s search for the battlefield visit our project page – The Search for the Battle of Brunanburh.

Warriors Fighting


MEDIEVAL – Edward I Coin

Edward I Coin

MEDIEVAL – Edward I Coin

A recent find of the groups that has just been verified by the Portable Antiquities Scheme is this coin of Edward I. 

It is listed on  under reference LVPL-361C79

The coin is a rather worn long cross silver penny dating from May to December 1279. It was minted at the Canterbury mint. 

The National Archives on have a currency converter and for  the year 1280 they give the value of a penny as a modern equivalent of approximately £2.89. 

Edward I

Edward I was King from 1272-1307 and was involved in wars in both Wales and Scotland. 

He was the English king portrayed in the film Braveheart which was about as historically inaccurate as any film can possibly be and this and other historical films errors might well be the subject of a future article !

Upon his tomb in Westminster Abbey is inscribed in Latin script  “Edward the First  Hammer of the Scots” . However it was in Wales that Edwards authority was stamped 

The Welsh wars started in 1277 and both Flint and Rhuddlan castles in North Wales were under construction at the time this coin was minted in 1279.

A second war broke out in 1282 which resulted in the construction of further castles including Conwy, Caernarfon, Harlech and the death of the last Welsh born Prince of Wales – Llewelyn ap Gruffydd.

A further rebellion happened in 1294 and Beaumaris Castle was built after this was quashed. 

Vast sums of money for the period were spent on the castles. Fortunately for historians many records actually survive in relation to the expenditure on the castles and detail both materials costs and wages. 

Flint castle

Flint castle cost around £7000 including workers wages and Rhuddlan around £9200.

Not surprisingly given our areas proximity there were a number of local connections to the Welsh castles and it is highly likely that some of that money found its way here. Of 26 medieval coins listed as being found on Wirral 8 are from the reign of Edward I. 

A lot of the stone for Flint Castle was quarried at Ness and was ferried across the Dee to the construction site. 

Timber for the Welsh castles came from the Kings forests at Chester and Toxteth.

One of the named masons is Robert of Frankby.

There was a pathway across the Dee from the castle at Shotwick through to Flint and this path is still shown on maps from the 1700’s

The engineer in charge at Flint was a Richard L’Engenour who was paid a shilling a day. He was an ancestor of the Duke of Westminster and lived in Lower Bridge Street in Chester. He was later Mayor of Chester in 1304. 

To find out more about what we do see our website at –

or contact us for membership enquiries –

The Wirral Archaeologist

The Wirral Archaeologist

The March edition of ‘The Wirral Archaeologist’ is available this weekend.  

Articles include four pages of photographs from the ‘Meols Boat Investigation’, ‘The Burton Skeletons’, ‘The Battle of Fulford Gate’ and the story of ‘Captain Robert Salusbury Trevor’.  

This is delivered free to members but will be available for purchase on the Wirral Archaeology CIC  stand at The History and Heritage Fair at Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight on 25th March

Roman – Coin

Finds from Wirral

Roman – Coin

We have recovered a number of Roman coins. Four of these are listed on the PAS database and we have a couple more awaiting verification. 
They normally look like the one above which has been verified as a Roman Sestertius but cannot be dated more accurately that AD41- AD260. 
Portable Antiquities Scheme Statement:

An incomplete and corroded copper alloy Roman sestertius of unclear type, dating to the period c.AD 41-260. Both faces are illegible. Unclear mint.  

Read what the Portable Antiquities Scheme had to say about it on the link below.
interested in finding out more about what we do then get in touch – Contact

MEDIEVAL –  Purse Bar

Finds from Wirral

MEDIEVAL –  Purse Bar

When this find came out of the ground of caused a bit of head scratching as we didn’t recognise it.
Some good searching of the Portable Antiquities Scheme database by one of our members led us to believe that it was an incomplete medieval purse bar.
This was confirmed when it was submitted to PAS and the below link will take you up the full description.
The vertical bar in the photos above still rotates which is impressive as it dates from 1400-1600.

Portable Antiquities Scheme Statement:

An incomplete copper alloy purse bar dating to the late medieval to post medieval period (c.AD 1400-1600). Williams (2018) Class C1.

The object consists of a central sub-rectangular block with a small arms protruding from each side. One arm is broken, the other is complete and has a circular section and terminates in a rounded knop. Separately attached to the arm is a small suspension loop with a worn break. Atop of the block is an incomplete oval loop which  has an integral shaft that penetrates through the central block to the other side and is finished with a rounded knop. This acts as a swivel and still moves. One face of the is worn and shows the shaft of the swivel. The object is undecorated and has a worn surface with a light green patina.

Dimensions: Length 31.2mm; width 40.7mm; thickness (block) 7.6mm; weight 15.64g


interested in finding out more about what we do then get in touch – Contact



Dear Friends and Colleagues

What a fantastic team!
I am writing to say a very big thank you on behalf of all of us at Wirral Archaeology CIC, and particularly the Boat project team, for helping to get the backbreaking part of this investigation done.  We are all eagerly awaiting the outcome of the analyses and will of course keep you updated as soon as we can.

In the meantime, a particular thank you note is set out below from our Site Archaeologist Chas Jones :

‘Thank you so  much for your time, energy and ideas last week which allowed us to find our boat.

I had to remove the final cores for laboratory examination once I realised that only the fibres had survived in the wood and I have ordered a spray system to slowly flush the silt that is holding the ‘wood’ in place.

I am quietly confident that this careful work will reveal the shape and a good estimate of the size of our boat.

It was a real challenge to locate it at such a depth, surrounded by so many obstacles and I very much appreciate to way we solved each problem together.

I will let you have the results as soon as they emerge but the fragile nature of the evidence means it will take some time to analyse.

Till then, my sincere thanks. It was a pleasure working with you all.

More anon”

Interested in finding out more about what we do then get in touch – Contact

Medieval – Weight

Finds from Wirral


A weight or gaming piece. A wide date range as they are hard to date. 
Portable Antiquities Scheme Statement

A lead object, possibly a gaming piece or a weight, possibly dating to the early medieval period onwards (c.AD 850-1700).The object is small and conical in shape. A portion is missing from the side, likely due to recent plough damage. The base is flat. The surface is rough with a seam running around the centre which when observing the damaged portion, it presents a section of two layers of lead forged together. The object has a rough and pitted surface but is otherwise undecorated. It has a white / light grey patina.Dimensions: Length 14.38mm; diameter (base) 18.9mm; weight 27.51g


Read the assessment at Portable Antiquities Scheme on the link below.

Interested in finding out more about what we do then get in touch – Contact


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