Posted by: signalhillarchaeology | July 22, 2009

Mystery Artifact #2

I can tell from the stats and comments that one of our most popular posts has been the Mystery Artifact #1 entry.  So, in a shameless attempt to keep you all coming back to the site, and to appease those who demand more! pictures! of artifacts!– here you are. It’s another post that shows you a picture of an artifact that we can’t immediately identify.

And so, without further ado, I present to you:

Mystery Artifact #2

Mystery Artifact #2. What is this?? What!!! Please lob your suggestions at our comments and receive our eternal gratitude...

Mystery Artifact #2. What is this?? What!!! Please lob your suggestions at our comments and receive our eternal gratitude...

I can tell you that the artifact is hand-made from bone, and is perfectly cylindrical in cross-section.  The top side has a threaded top, as if it’s supposed to screw into something.  Below this are several thin ridges carefully carved.

You can determine the dimensions of the object from the unattractive ruler placed beside the object (look, I was uncomfortably kneeling on the bare concrete floor of our lab while taking this picture, so grabbed the first thing to hand that would give you a sense of scale).

Ah, but you might be thinking “Amanda, is the object solid or hollow? Why aren’t you showing us the cross section of this thing??!!”

Cross-section of the mystery artifact.  Note that it's hollow, all the way through the object, like a straw.

Cross-section of the mystery artifact. Note that it's hollow, all the way through the object, like a straw.

And I can happily tell you that, while continuing to kneel on said uncomfortable concrete floor, I tried to take pictures of the cross section of the object.  Trying to hold my big SLR camera with one hand and the object with the other didn’t work, and my knees were complaining enough already, so I brought out the container of aquarium rocks that I keep on hand for just such an occasion, and (carefully) lodged the artifact in them, so that I could take photo at left.

So, yes, the mystery artifact is a tube, with a hole right through the object.  The hole is several millimeters wide.  And once again, the artifact is from the midden at the North Range Barracks site, and thus is from a British military context, dating from 1800 to 1840 or thereabouts.

What is it? You tell me… no, really, please tell me!  Don’t let my knees have suffered in vain!

Have fun speculating—

–Amanda Crompton (Instructor)

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Responses

  1. Part of a bagpipe mouthpiece? Here’s a picture that shows a modern bagpipe mouthpiece that has a similar sized, threaded tube.

  2. My intial thought is that it might be a mouthpiece for pipe. Perhaps a corn cob pipe or something of that sort.

  3. Darn! Tim beat me to it. I just sent you an e-mail Amanda!


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