Friday, May 10, 2013

5/10/13 Report - Calusa Shell Artifacts & Shipwreck Spikes

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Two Shipwreck Spikes Found on Treaure Coast Beach.
First, the spikes.  The one on top is complete, but has not been completely cleaned.  Some of the surface material has been removed, but this spike has already deteriorated and the iron is in poor condition.  I don't know how well it can be cleaned.  I doubt it will ever look nearly as nice as the bottom spike, which although broken has completed electrolysis.   There is just a little surface rust now on that one, since it wasn't sealed immediately after electrolysis.  The surface rust can be lightly removed.  Then it should be thoroughly dried.  Then it should be sealed.

Not long ago I showed a similar broken spike that was almost exactly the same size as the broken iron one shown here, but it was cuprous - probably bronze.  It looked good as it came out of the ground.  Iron, of course, tends to deteriorate much more quickly.  Some people might clean the green patina off of it, but I like it pretty much the way it is.

Below is a quick video clip of the surf yesterday on the Treasure Coast.  It doesn't look bad, but where I wanted to dig was pretty close to where the waves are breaking. 

I know I scanned too quickly, and that makes it a little difficult to see, but I figured you can pause it anywhere you want, so I posted it anyhow.


Here is the book I mentioned yesterday.  It is Culture and Environment in the Domain of the Calusa, edited by William Marquardt, University of Florida, 1992.   Totally available online.

Kudoos to Mr. Marquardt!

That is the way it should be, if you ask me.  When archaeologists are working at public schools or universities or are working under student grants or whatever that are funded by the tax payers, their publications should be made available to the public free of charge, not sold for hundreds of dollars.  We paid for it, and they claim their work is to save history for the public, but then some of them go and charge hundreds of dollars for books based upon their tax-payer funded work or only publish in expensive academic journals.  These days, their work should be published on the internet.  That is the way I see it.

This book compiles a lot of information (really a lot) derived from archaeological studies on the Calusa.  You'll find some very useful information, although you might not be interested in much of it.  It is very academic.

I'd suggest browsing through it for anything that might interest you.

One thing any beach hunter should be familiar with is shell artifacts.  If you spend enough time on the beaches, you'll probably see a few and might never recognize it.

This book gives a good number of photos and examples of shell artifacts.  It is really worth looking at.

Just to give you a couple of examples or diagrams of shell artifacts today, here are a couple figures from the book.

Illustration of Shell Artifact.
Notice how the holes are made for the insertion of a pole or stick.

And below are a variety of shell sinkers.

Shell Sinkers.
Some have holes but others have an indentation carved around the top where they could be attached.

That is all I'll show from the book today.  If you want to see more, below is the link to the book.  The chapter on shell artifacts begins on page 191.

I once showed a Horse Conch shell horn that I found.  It wasn't Native American though.  The settlers also used them for calling hunting dogs.  And they aren't that difficult to make. 

It isn't really easy to learn to blow it, but not too difficult either.

On the Treasure Coast the wind is out of the south/southeast.   The surf is around 2 - 3 feet, decreasing down to around 1 foot this weekend.

Low tide will be around 3 PM.

Go out and find something for Mother's Day.

Happy hunting,