Black and white image of two cloth seals below sketches of stamps appearing on them
Cloth Seals

These small leaden discs were crimped onto finished fabrics in England by the manufacturer, the merchant, the quality control inspector, and the tax official. These seals tell archaeologists not only what types of textiles the colonists were using but also where the cloth came from. Seals are a good way to date archaeological contexts: cloth goods were sold soon after they were made for textiles represented too much money to remain as inventory.

This two-part seal was applied by an inspector of the dyers’ guild in London. The arms of London are indicated by the sword within the crossed shield. The other side of the seal bears the word ‘SEARCHED,’ which indicates that the cloth had been inspected. The letters ‘W – AD’ probably stand for woad, a blue colored dye.