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Palm Guards?

Brian Read emailed about these lead objects, said to be palm-guards.

Dear Curator,

Re attached images of three cast lead so-called palm guards. These are common recoveries on farmland by metal-detectorists in the UK, and mostly quite crude, spoon- or shell-shaped. One side is flat and the other is convex with one or two circular depressions. People say the depressions are formed by the abductor muscle of a Swan Mussel, though having two depressions discounts this theory. I have studied many of these objects and have yet to see steel needle marks in any. I am unconvinced these are palm-guards and can find no evidence anywhere for such a use. Currently I am writing a book about metal sewing-thimbles found in Britain, in which sailmakers' and sailors steel/iron and copper-alloy palm irons are discussed.

Any input will be welcome.

palm guards


Editor: My first thought was to contact Des Pawson but it appears that he was already co-operating with Brian on this subject. Does anyone else have any thoughts or suggestions?

Brian Read

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