Saturday 16th March 2024 BAS Lecture: Iron-ing it out, nail-ing it down

A new multi-period methodology and typology for recording structural iron nails

By Kate Manby, University of Reading

Structural iron nails are the most common iron-find type from the Romano-British period onwards, but they have received little sustained attention being perceived as having limited archaeological value. This talk considers how iron nails can reveal information previously lost, such as the lives of objects and structures they were used within, and practices of recycling and deposition across different sites. It follows work conducted on the 5775 nail assemblage from the MOLA/Headland A14 excavations, alongside survey and experimental work. It suggests a new typology and methodology for recording structural iron nails, to maximise the information we can gain from them. This includes new shank morphology recording as indicative of how nails were used and discarded in antiquity. 

Katie Manby is a second year PhD student between the University of Reading and the British Museum. Her current PhD project focuses on first century AD copper-alloy statuettes within the British Museum collection. Previously she studied for an MA at the University of Reading 2021-22 during which she held a funded Highways England studentship with MOLA/Headland infrastructure to study the large structural iron nail assemblage from the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon excavations. Her work focuses generally on metal artefacts from the Roman period. 

Photo copyright Mola/Headland

2.00 pm for 2.30 pm at the RISC Centre, London Street, Reading RG1 4PS and from 2:15 on Zoom

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BAJ086 Published

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