Some of the miniature guns and cannons were once working replicas, made of a copper alloy. ''The largest of them are equivalent to a pocket pistol. So [they're] perfectly capable of killing somebody,'' said Hazel Forsyth, curator of post-medieval collections at the Museum of London. ''It's obvious they are not perfect replicas. But we know they worked, because some of the barrels have exploded.''
But the toy guns aren't the only working miniatures; tiny copper cauldrons have been found with sooty bases, suggesting that children used them to cook food.
The British Museum's Richard Hobbs, curator of the ''Buried Treasure'' exhibition, said other replicas, including a three-legged stool, a birdcage, and tools such as saws, are important because no previous record of these objects is known for the period. ''It enriches what we know about the medieval household in terms of the contents of a house,'' he said.
''Buried Treasure'' will be on display at The National Museums and Galleries of Wales in Cardiff this summer, and will move on to Manchester, Newcastle, and Norwich.