MAS-O100189: MAS-D100189; Surrey; Nail; Image 1 of 6

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Unique ID: MAS-O100189

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

The find consists of 8 iron nails and an unidentifiable object that contains one further nail and is made of, or covered in, what appears to be fur.

The nails range in length from 135 - 175 mm, and c. 10 - 20 mm in width at their widest point below the head. All 8 nails have a rose type head and taper to a broad point. These features suggest that the nails were hand wrought, rather than cut or wire, a method where each nail is manufactured individually by hand on a blacksmiths anvil. The invention of the slitting mill c. 1590 simplified this process by manufacturing iron rods from which nails could be cut, tapered and given a head. Between 1790 and 1820 this process began to be replaced by machine cut nails, before eventual replacement by wire nails in the late 19th century. These nails, therefore, likely date from before the mid-19th century. The level of preservation of iron objects in an intertidal environment also suggests that they are likely to be more recent than the 1590 development of the slitting mill, a date of mid-18th to mid-19th centuries is tentatively suggested.

Images of the other object were sent to in-house finds secialist and animal bone specialist at Wessex Archaeology who both said it appeared to be animal skin that had been bundled up but could not tell what it was for. As the object has no readily diagnostic features, it remains unidentifiable.


These objects were found during a walk on the River Thames near Rotherhithe. The finder notes that there were possible more than a 100 nails in total, spread over an area about 1.5 square metres.

The objects have been deemed as non-wreck material by the Receiver of Wreck and therefore do not have a droit number.

Sub class: Fastening


Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 175 mm
Width: 20 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Wednesday 13th June 2018

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: P T

Materials and construction

Primary material: Iron
Secondary material: Organic
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

County or Unitary authority: Greater London Authority (Greater London Authority)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TQ3479
Four figure Latitude: 51.49407113
Four figure longitude: -0.07113608
1:25K map: TQ3479
1:10K map: TQ37NW
Display four figure position on What3Words
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Other chance find
Discovery circumstances: River walk along the Thames

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Audit data

Recording Institution: MAS
Created: Wednesday 13th June 2018
Updated: Monday 30th March 2020

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