Ingot

Contributed by Cornwall Museums

THIS OBJECT IS PART OF THE PROJECT 'A HISTORY OF CORNWALL IN 100 OBJECTS'.

LOOE MUSEUM. This ingot is evidence of Cornwall's early tin trade. Recovered by a local diver from the sea bed off Looe Island, this is thought to be about 2,000 years old, from the Roman period. Tin was then one of Cornwall's major exports and ingots of a similar period can be seen in the Royal Cornwall Museum. From the early 19th century tin ingots were made in foundries and often stamped with Catholic symbols like the lamb and flag or pelican.

The neck of a Roman amphora was found in the same area as the ingot and probably contained fish oil or wine from the Mediterranean. In the medieval period tin was smelted in blowing houses and exported, while wine, salt, iron, cordage, timber and tar were imported.

Looe Island is a place of legends: a commonly held, though not very ancient, belief being that Joseph of Arimathea was a tin trader who brought Jesus Christ here.

Photo: Bernie Pettersen

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