Archaeological Completion Report Series, Number 14
From the book: “Archaeologist have routinely identified small lead seals found on 16th to 18th century sites in North America as “bale seals”. An analysis of the lead seals from Fort Michilimackinac … was conducted to determine whether the seals are actually cloth seals for individual textiles.
Four lines of evidence are examined in this report in order to clarify the function(s) of lead seals: documentary sources, quantitative analysis of archaeological data from Fort Michilimackinac, comparative data from site reports, and cloth imprint analysis.
Available evidence supports an interpretation that most lead seals are cloth marks which served as indicators of quality, ownership, and taxation cloth. Documentary sources mention the existence of lead bale seals, and a small number of seals from Fort Michilimackinac may have served to seal or identify the contents of bales of trade goods.”
“Lead Seals from Fort Michilimackinac can certainly be recommended as reference on lead seals and a guide for their future study.” – Charles Hansen The Museum of the Fur Trade Quarterly