Today I was able to finish up cataloging, and let me tell you, we have some exciting artifacts! Some of the lower strata and post holes have produced North Devon ceramics and sherds from a Westerwald mug, suggesting quite an early component to this site.
One of the more interesting buttons we have come across is this large oyster shell button with a metal loop for a backing. Usually oyster shell buttons are small with two or four holes through them, or were actually insets in metal buttons.
As for yesterday's mystery artifact, Elsie had some interesting ideas. She suggested that it could be a part of a spinning wheel called a maiden, which helps to hold the bobbin in place. The placement of the holes and threading on our find certainly resemble those on a maiden, but upon closer examination this artifact is far too small to fit more than a tiny spinning wheel! I know children had (and still have) toys that mimicked the tools and machines used by adults, aiding in the process of learning through imitation, but I have never heard of a children's spinning wheel. That is not to say that such a thing did not exist, though Elsie is right to suggest that we would expect ot find more pieces of such a machine. She also pointed out the possibility that the artifact is some type of simple hand tool, though this still leaves us puzzling over its function.
As always thanks for the input. It always helps to have several extra brains to think up possibilities that I overlooked!