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Late Medieval; 15th century
Eighteen lead weights from a fishing net found at the bottom of the wreck of a 15th-century ship in the Thames at Blackfriars. No other evidence of fishing was found in the wreck so its possible that this net was snagged on the wreck after it had sunk rather than being used on the ship for fishing. A total of 1109 weights were recovered, though up to 300 more weights may have been missed in the rush to excavate the wreck. The weights were probably from a 'seine' net, one of the oldest types of fishing net to be used in rivers. 'Seine' nets were made from a long train of netting with weights on the bottom and floats on the top. The net would have been cast into the river and then hauled onto the bank or onto a boat. The wreck was found only six metres from shore so it's possible that the net had been cast into the river by fishermen standing on the bank. Calculations based on the number of weights, their size and how they may have been attached, have indicated that the net could have been around 56.5 metres long (185 ft). It would have been very large and heavy, needing several people to handle it. This discovery is published in Marsden, P. (1996): Ships of the Port of London. Twelfth to seventeenth centuries AD. English Heritage Archaeological Report 5, pg. 102-103.
L (smallest weights) 14 mm; L (largest weights) 45 mm
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