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Plumbata
I'm interested in hearing opinions about one of the dilemmas in identifying plumbatae. Some plumbatae have been found without a lead weight, with mainly the barbed heads leading to an identification of the spearhead as that of a plumbata. Of course, some barbed spearheads are just that - barbed spearheads. However, not all are, as some finds of single lead weights seem to indicate that there may be weightless plumbatae lying about. So how to distinguish the one from the other - if at all possible? I'm thinking many plumatae are misidentified as spearheads - and some vice versa.

The image below would cause me to think that, on the grounds of a very small socket which would not fit a spearshaft, that this might indicate it's a plumbata?
Btw the leaded version (clearly a plumbata) is from Vrhnika (186mm), the 'weightless' one is from Martinj Hrib near Loagatec, both from the Alpine region of Slovenia.

   
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Robert Vermaat
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(12-14-2016, 01:32 PM)Robert Vermaat Wrote: on the grounds of a very small socket which would not fit a spearshaft, that this might indicate it's a plumbata?

That seems a pretty good bet. Are the known plumbata you've identified all more or less the same size, or is there considerable variety? How big is the smallest known definite javelin head? If there's an obvious size difference, then you'd be on safe ground identifying the smaller ones as weight-less plumbatae, I'd say!
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(12-14-2016, 02:20 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: That seems a pretty good bet. Are the known plumbata you've identified all more or less the same size, or is there considerable variety? How big is the smallest known definite javelin head? If there's an obvious size difference, then you'd be on safe ground identifying the smaller ones as weight-less plumbatae, I'd say!

Unfortunately there not one rough size. Anything between 80 and 250mm (and all those have weights), and unfortunately no one has measured the size of the socket so I can't compare those.
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Robert Vermaat
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THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
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Quote:The image below would cause me to think that, on the grounds of a very small socket which would not fit a spearshaft, that this might indicate it's a plumbata?

I'd argue maybe, but could it not have also been for the Verrutum/Lancea, a short 1-meter javelin with a barbed triangular or leaf-bladed head?
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Robert dilemmas  Huh a few thoughts though  Smile First lets say it as a javelin,  how would you put a heavier shaft onto a small socket ? I would insert a piece of dowel in the socket and leave a couple of Inchs sticking out then on the heavier shaft bore a hole into it long enough to take the dowel and the first inch of javelin and glue it in, then a bit binding to stop splitting Undecided  Next it could have been a javelin that the socket is damaged  and has been cut back to a point it will only take a dowel ? Then the dowel inserted and a cast hollow lead weight slid down the shaft and glued/binded into place above metal socket. Now then if this is a Plumbata head then maybe it is another type of component manufacture where each part is separately made and then production line made as above.  As my experiment with casting onto a socket it requires more work to achieve, where as to break it down into a process of separate components this will make it easier to make. Their are probably  other ways of doing it but early in the morning need a cup of tea first Smile
Regards Brennivs Big Grin
Woe Ye The Vanquished
                     Brennvs 390 BC
When you have all this why do you envy our mud huts
                     Caratacvs
Centvrio Brennivs COH I Dacorivm (Roma Antiqvia)
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(12-15-2016, 04:40 AM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: I'd argue maybe, but could it not have also been for the Verrutum/Lancea, a short 1-meter javelin with a barbed triangular or leaf-bladed head?

That's what I am in doubt about, what use would a small socket be for a javelin - wouldn't it break immediately? hence my questions here.

(12-15-2016, 06:57 AM)brennivs - tony drake Wrote: First lets say it as a javelin,  how would you put a heavier shaft onto a small socket ? I would insert a piece of dowel in the socket and leave a couple of Inchs sticking out then on the heavier shaft bore a hole into it long enough to take the dowel and the first inch of javelin and glue it in, then a bit binding to stop splitting Next it could have been a javelin that the socket is damaged  and has been cut back to a point it will only take a dowel ?

Could you show me in an image how that works? And is this a common solution that we've found remains of? I'm talking about undamaged sockets btw, which are much smaller than your 'common' javelin or spear socket.
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Robert Vermaat
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FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
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My idea is completely hypothetical  Huh if someone came to me with this problem it is how I would solve it, also the chances of finding it done from a archaeological context is remote. But I have thought the method would leave no trace unless it was preserved  in bog ect. But it is similar to bamboo arrows that have a spigot joint except one part is thicker. I will do a drawing to show my idea Wink Also the short shank pila from Spain  2 nd BC ? which was launched from walls with a heavy shaft ( sorry find site not in grey matter  Confused ) construction is different but idea is similar  Smile
Regards Brennivs Big Grin
Woe Ye The Vanquished
                     Brennvs 390 BC
When you have all this why do you envy our mud huts
                     Caratacvs
Centvrio Brennivs COH I Dacorivm (Roma Antiqvia)
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Robert sorry forgot about this Sad but I have just looked at a one that has a similar style head and the lead was just wrapped around the shaft, to me maybe was a javelin head just reuesed as a Plumbata.
   
A you can see the lead is just wrapped around and maybe the lead has fallen off the one in the picture you posted. 
will post what I meant about in my post when I draw it  Wink
Woe Ye The Vanquished
                     Brennvs 390 BC
When you have all this why do you envy our mud huts
                     Caratacvs
Centvrio Brennivs COH I Dacorivm (Roma Antiqvia)
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Thanks Tony, familiar image. Wink
My hope here is that somehow I want to determine how small javelin heads could be - preferably to distinguish them from plumbatae heads where the lead weight fell of..
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Robert Vermaat
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FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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It's been a few months since the last update and I've added a few additions, 1 from Slovenia, 3 from Italy and three unprovenaced ones. Two of the latter are from Hungary, which seems to be the most 'active' region recently. Both are from eBay, but to me they seem to be genuine.

       

Currently there are 175 published finds:

31 from Serbia
30 from Britain
16 from Slovenia (up from 15)
15 from Italy (up from 12)
15 from Austria
14 from France
10 from Hungary
9 from Croatia
7 from Germany
7 from Switzerland
5 from Georgia/Abchasia
4 from Rumania
3 from Bulgaria
3 from Greece
2 from Liechtenstein
2 from The Netherlands
1 from Belgium
1 from Slovakia
77 from doubtful or unprovenanced origins (up from 74)
Total 252
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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A few additions, unfortunately only unprovenanced finds. two of them are most likely fakes due to the excellent condition as well as the oddly-shaped (and smallish) lead weights - literally 'by the same hand' as well.
The third one is most likely a detectorist find and seems genuine. All from unknown origins.

   

   

Currently there are 175 published finds:

31 from Serbia
30 from Britain
16 from Slovenia
15 from Italy
15 from Austria
14 from France
10 from Hungary
9 from Croatia
7 from Germany
7 from Switzerland
5 from Georgia/Abchasia
4 from Rumania
3 from Bulgaria
3 from Greece
2 from Liechtenstein
2 from The Netherlands
1 from Belgium
1 from Slovakia
80 from doubtful or unprovenanced origins (up from 77)
Total 255
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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Thanks for these ongoing updates, Robert. Much appreciated in terms of the spread of finds and the numbers per area.
Francis Hagan

The Barcarii
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Nice 3D rendering of a plumbata (but for the odd metal rings both sides of the flights):
https://hum3d.com/360-view/?id=124665
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Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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Lovely image - agree about the gold rings adding an unusual touch. Did you notice the spatha also:

https://hum3d.com/360-view/?id=123298
Francis Hagan

The Barcarii
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Recently several people expressed their disbelief at how small plumbatae seemed to be - they expected much larger missiles.
Of the 226 measured plumbatae (excluding the damaged ones) in my database, the average length of the surviving metal head, shaft and weight is 143mm.

To give a better idea, here are some finds compared to the human hand:

   
   
   
   
   
   
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Robert Vermaat
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THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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