Priestside Anchor

Large iron anchor. Very unevenly corroded surface. Straight even shaft, rectangular in profile. Curved section is also rectangular tapering to a point at each end. Losses to each tip, and at the top of the shaft. Iron anchor, Priestside, Ruthwell. Britain's extensive coastline made sea travel economic, but inland waterways were also used. Transport and communications were essential to preserving the Roman ideal of order and stability. Good communications systems enabled the spread of roman influence as well as the dispersal of manufactured goods. It is thought that the Roman fort at Lantonside, on the Nith estuary, could be a supply base with goods being brought in by the Roman navy, as bulk goods such as amphorae of wine, oil and fish sauce were more easily moved by sea than overland.   In 2017, Maritime Archaeologist, Daniel Claggett and Conservator, Will Murray requested access to the anchor in order to compare it with others from Northern Europe. Although the Priestside anchor was listed as "Roman", researchers had queried this. A Museums Galleries Scotland funded project allowed further research to be carried out, along with X-raying and conservation work, to ensure that the anchor was well preserved and documented for the future. Daniel included the Priestside anchor in his typology of ancient iron anchors and found that the anchor different a lot from the early Viking age anchors that he had examined. He did find similarities between the Priestside anchor and the few remaining Roman anchors that he studied which suggests that it could be Roman. However, we are still unable to know exactly how old the anchor is. Will carried out a detailed inspection of the anchor's condition before removing the aged coating, revealing details of the anchor's structure, such as the crown hole and broken crown ring that can now be seen protruding from the throat of the anchor. The X-ray images enabled Will to see below the surface corrosion to confidently reveal these features. Current technology for more conclusive sampling requires a large part of the object to be removed. It is hoped that future developments in technology will mean that sampling to estimate the anchor's age and composition can be carried out in a less destructive way. The anchor was displayed, along with photographs and findings, at Annan Museum in the autumn of 2018.
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840mm long
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Dumfries and Galloway Council
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