Saturday, May 31, 2008

Head Scratcher

Spend your entire adult life looking for and studying other people's trash and from time to time you will find something that defies ready identification. Well, that happened the other day when I picked up this object (pictured below) while we were mapping and collecting the fields south of the colonial town of Port Tobacco.

It is soft lead, oval in outline, about 3.2 inches by 2.4 inches and about 0.09 inches thick. The oval, punched holes are under a quarter of an inch along their longest axes. (The scale is metric.)

The object came from the earliest of our sites that I've discussed for the past couple of days, most of its associated historic artifacts probably dating to the late 17th century and first quarter of the 18th.

What gets my goat is I'm pretty sure I've seen one of these things before. Speculations appreciated, positive identifications preferred.



Anonymous said...

It really looks like the head for a tinware water sprinkler. I could swear that I have seen something really similar in a Dutch still life. However, I don't have many of my Dutch art books in the Pacific, such as survived the floods a few years ago.
Lon Bulgrin

Scott said...

Obviously some kind of strainer. Tea pot? Maybe too big for that. Did it fit into a ladel type device for straining vegetables or the like?

Dave G. said...

Jim, this looks very much like a lead object that we found in a 17th century burial in the Chapel Field in St. Mary's City. If I remember correctly, the object was above the left arm, and the burial was near the front door of the brick chapel, leading to speculation that the interred person was clergy of some sort. Contact Tim or Silas at HSMC and see if he remembers something similar.

Dancing Willow said...

I am thinking in terms of what Scott said or some form of sifter. My Son is convinced it is a device that belongs to an shoe of some sort...?