Difficult Identification of Rare Objects
Dr. Elizabeth Moore recently attended a two-day workshop at the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory located at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum in St. Leonard, Maryland. This workshop will be offered again on June 9th and 10th and there are still spots open. VMNH is proud to be one of the sponsors for this valuable workshop.
During the two-day workshop, attendees learned about some of the rarer or more difficult to identify artifacts found on historic sites in the region – bits, saddle hardware, clothing hardware (bones, stays, clasps, buckles, etc.), hard and soft paste porcelains, coarse earthenwares, and more.
A day of learning about conservation materials and techniques included an x-ray of problematic artifacts. For her x-ray, Dr. Moore brought with her an object recently excavated from a slave quarter in Pittsylvania County. The object is long and cylindrical and was a mass of iron corrosion, dirt, and gravel. It was impossible to see the object inside of the corrosion.
The x-ray shows that this is a cast-iron object and is long and slender. One end is slightly tapered. The larger end has a slightly curved piece that looks like it may have rested against or attached to another object. We are not sure what this object is. Could it be a leg to a stove or a cauldron? If so, why is the foot tapered and slightly pointed? And why is it so long? Could it be a spike? If so, why is the broad end curved and not flatter? If you have any ideas about what this might be, please post them in the comments.