The Topoi research project (D-5-5) "Between knowledge and innovation: the unequal armed balance" studies the long-term development of weighing from its earliest beginnings in the late fourth to the early third millennium until the early Middle Ages and the middle Byzantine Period respectively. A particular focus lies on balances with arms of variable length, the most familiar of which is the Roman balance, also commonly referred to as the steelyard.
More than 1000 ancient and early medieval steelyards have been identified and provide the material evidence based on which we strive to model the innovation process of this particular weighing technology. The catalogue of steelyards thus produced is here published for the first time as a collection in Edition Topoi.
This collection presents ancient and early medieval steelyards. Publication is cumalative, new objects will be added from time to time. For each object find spot and current location of the object are specified, bibliographic references are given, and essential attributes such as material are listed, to the extent that the information is available. When a datable context is known the context together with a dating is provided. Else a group dating is given which rests on the classification of the object according to a typology that has been developed as a result of our research. Whenever available images of the objects are provided. Many of the steelyards have been taken in autopsy. In these cases the objects have usually been 3d scanned. Fully dimensioned 3d model are provided here, as well as renderings of these models as PDF files, including measurement data.
Due to copyright reasons, some images cannot yet be displayed online. For restricted access to the database for soley scientific and research purposes, please contact topoi_d_5_5(at)topoi.org.