Object Title

Javelin head or spear head

Javelin head or spear head

Object Number



Old Tower Collection. Transferred to the British Museum in 1914 (reg. no. 1915, 7-13, 9) and first accessioned under its current Royal Armouries inventory number on its return in 1972

Physical Description

Of iron; formerly B.M. no. 1915, 7-13, 9. The fairly narrow, approximatley leaf-shaped blade (probably originally of flattened diamond section) and socket are of about equal length and maximum width. A longitudinal join is visible along the socket. At the narrow end the socket extends over the base of the blade and terminates in two angled tongues. The socket is pierced near its open end by a single rectangular hole and a small part of the end has broken off or corroded away. Viewed from the edge of the blade, the blade and socket are slightly out of alignment.

Condition (at March 2002): excavated condition with encrusted surface deposits.


Dimensions: Overall length: 215 mm, blade length (approx.): 110 mm, max. blade width: 24 mm Weight: 113 g (4 oz)



The number of this object was changed from VII.4100 to VII.1637 on 21 March 2002 (see explanation below). The location record for this object between May 1995 and 21 March 2002 will be found under the number VII.4100. (PJL, 21/03/02).
Between 1995 and 21/03/2002, this object bore the number VII.4100, having been accessioned under that number after is was found without a Royal Armouries inv. no. in the (Tower) Middle Flint store on 25/05/1995 by Angus Konstam. At the time it was catalogued as 'Eurpopean, about 1300'. (information taken from the computer entry for VII.4100 before amendment - see print-out on inv. file). In March 2002 it was identified by Philip Lankester as the same object originally accessioned under VII.1637 on two, grounds. First, it has a painted British Museum registration number, 1915 7-13 9, and is part of the sequence VII.1634-VII.1641 which were all loaned to the British Museum in 1914 and first accessioned on their current (ffoulkes) inventory numbers on their return to the Armouries in 1972 (information from Typed Inventory). Some, at least, of the other objects in the sequence bear B.M. numbers, also beginning 1915 7-13 (=13 July 1913). From the sequence VII.1634-1641, VII.1637 was the only one recorded as missing. Second, the dimensions and weights in the Typed Inventory for VII.1637 matched those of the spearhead latterly numbered VII.4100. The Typed Inventory description under VII.1637 read simply, 'similar to but smaller than VII.1636' which was checked and found to be true. (PJL, 21/03/02)
On 21/03/1997, Philip Lankester asked the Department of Medieval and Later Antiquities (now Dept of Medieval and Modern Europe) at the British Museum what information they had under the number 1915, 7-13, 9 and was told that this number could be not be found in their registers or on their computer (note on entry for VII.4100 before amendment - see print-out on inv. file). However, at the time PJL was unaware that BM numbers in the same sequence occured on other objects (see above) and it now appears from the dates and places of origin given in the Typed Inventory for the objects in the sequence VII.1634-VII.1641 that are more likely to have been registered in the Dept of Greek and Roman Antiquities than in the Dept of Medieval and Later Antiquities. This should be checked in due course as the entries may contain more information which will enable their earlier Dillon inventory numbers to be identified (see for example Typed Inventory entry for VII.1634). (PJL, 21/03/02).
Remaining to be done on this entry: confirm nationality and complet date made and date range; incorporate reference to and summary of results of David Starley's scientific examination report (AM 1694) - copy on inv. file.