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Pyramidal Lead Objects: Scale Weights, Loom Weights, or Sinkers?

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image of Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

Abstract Ancient scale weights are a key to understanding weight systems and types of economy, but their definition is notoriously difficult, and scholars tend to classify as weights a wide variety of objects. The present paper reassesses a series of pyramidal lead objects from Phoenicia, dated mostly to the Hellenistic period. In the last twenty years these objects have been regarded as scale weights—in fact, forming the largest category of assumed Phoenician scale weights. In this paper it is suggested that these are not scale weights but sinkers (weights for fishing lines or nets).


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