One of the first finds in the new excavation at Milecastle 46 on Hadrian’s Wall has revealed a glimpse into Roman life.

The milecastle site, along with the adjacent section of Hadrian’s Wall and the Fort of Magna, were heavily stone robbed in the 14th century, likely used to build nearby Thirlwall Castle.

Although there are few standing remains, the impressive foundation stones of the milecastle are starting to emerge.

A find was uncovered that sheds light on the activities that once took place there almost 2,000 years ago.

During the third week of excavation, an exceptionally fine example of a small and delicate equal arm steelyard beam was unearthed.

Rachel Frame, Senior Archaeologist at the Magna site, said: “This was part of the site we had been working in the week before, but there had been no signs of any artefacts at all in this area.

"The extremely heavy rain that we had over the weekend helped to wash the last cover of soil from one end of the steelyard beam, revealing just a few centimetres.

"At first, I thought it could be a large pin or needle, but it became clear as the find continued to be uncovered, and features like the central fulcrum were revealed, that it was something much more special and could tell us a great deal about how the milecastle may have been used”.

The 22cm copper alloy steelyard beam had a decorative integral central fulcrum hole designed for the suspension chain.

One end featured a typical triple bevel design and delicate suspension hole for hanging a weighing pan, while the other was used for hanging small weights.

The steelyard also had eleven circular silver inset points, set 10mm apart, which were used as markers to move the measuring weights along the arm.

A proficient Roman tax official, trader, or merchant could have used this portable steelyard to weigh small, high-value items passing through the milecastle.

The excavation is part of a 5-year project by The Vindolanda Trust.

Updates can be found on the online Dig Diary or by visiting the Roman Army Museum and speaking to the Magna team on weekdays between 11.30am-12pm and 2pm-2.30pm.