The Plumbata is a late period Roman weapon. Most of the extant finds have been in or around Roman fortifications active during the late antiquity period. The earliest dating of weapons found that can with certainty be known as Plumbata was in the 270s, with most finds being dated from the 4th and into the early 5th centuries. As of yet, no Plumbata have been found in Roman fortifications that were abandoned before the last third of the 3rd
century. The latest finds so far have been dated as late 5th or early 6th centuries.
These weapons have been found over a vast area ranging from Britain, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Hungry, Greece, and as far as Georgia. They’re use seems to have been centered in and around the Roman province of Illyricum, which corresponds to parts of modern day Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Croatia. In this region were two legions of 6000 men each that were described as preferring the Plumbata over all other weapons. These legions were given the titles of Jovian and Herculean by the emperors Diocletian and Maximian who reigned together from 284-305 ce. These legions were the preferred troops of these emperors due to their extreme prowess with the Plumbata. The use of this weapon seems to have spread out from this central region.