Lead Cloth Seals

Project details

Small leaden discs, known a cloth seals, were crimped onto finished fabrics in England by the manufacturer, the merchant, the quality control inspector, and the tax official. These seals tell the archaeologist not only what types of textiles were being used by the colonists, but also where the cloth came from. Seals provide good dates for archaeological contexts because cloth goods were sold soon after they were made. 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.