A Roman lead pig
Lot 303
A Roman lead 'pig' or ingot
Sold for £36,000 (US$ 60,509) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
A Roman lead 'pig' or ingot
A.D. 81
Of trapezoidal form, a raised inscription along the top surface reading, 'Imperatore Caesare Domitiano Augusto Consule Septimum', referring to the Emperor Domitian's seventh consulate, inscribed on one of the flared sides with the word 'BRIG', 23 x 41/8 x 5½in (58.5 x 10.5 x 13.5cm), weight approximately 154lbs, in a wood and glass case


  • Provenance:
    Ex property of Sir Thomas Ingilby Bt. of Ripley Castle, North Yorkshire.
    Accompanied by a copy of a document dated to 1768 saying that this 'pig' and another similar one were accidently discovered circa 1731 in the peat upon Hayshaw Moor, near Greenho' Hill (near Pately Bridge, North Yorkshire), a place famous in antiquity for its lead mines. This 'pig' of lead has been recorded in the Ripley Castle Guide Book as having been kept on a radiator shelf. It has been documented since its discovery in various inventories, including the inventory of the effects of Sir Henry Day Ingilby Bt., dated 29th April 1890. The other 'pig' was bequeathed by Sir John Ingilby Bt. to the British Museum in 1772, (Accession no. 1772.9-11.1).

    The inscription recording the Emperor Domitian's (given here the title Caesar Augustus) seventh consulate accurately dates the making of the lead ingot to the latter part of the year A.D. 81. The word 'BRIG' identifies the origins of the metal as from the territory of the Brigantes, a British tribe that came under Roman rule.

    For other examples of metal ingots, cf. T.W. Potter, Roman Britain, (London 1983), p.50, figs. 55, 57.