Tuesday, December 23, 2014

12/24/14 Report - More On The Mystery Find. Metal or Ceramic? Smooth Surf For More Days.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.BlogSpot.com.

Another Picture of The Mystery Object.
Find and photo by Robert H.

Mystery objects, or what I call "whatzits," can be a lot of fun.  You can learn a lot while doing the research to figure them out.  I've already learned some things from this one.

If you didn't see the pictures of this object that I showed in yesterday's post, take a look.

The first thing that struck me is what appears to be an ornamental design that you can see in the top picture of yesterday's post.  I'd never noticed that on an olive jar before. 

Then Robert told me something else.  Here is what he said.

I was also very convinced it was some sort of pottery but now I'm not so sure. On the CTX it gives off a silver reading and tone. I scratch tested it when I got home. 3 different corners. It all seems to be metal but I could be wrong. I'm thinking pewter or bronze possibly. I would say it was 8 to 9 inches or more deep in the sand. It gave off such a nice strong signal the whole time. Could be the shape the reason why it sounded like it did. I've found gold rings that have sound like silver items or copper/zinc pennies or reading on the detector. All depending on the different metals alloyed. I guess the real question would be how does bronze or pewter react with my detector.

Interesting!  The new picture, which I posted above does appear to show a metallic shine on some of the edges and corners.  He said that It gives a silver tone on the CTX.   Now, like Robert, I started to think it might actually not be a sherd.  But then I got some more good information.

William B., who has been working on the Capitana for a couple of seasons, provided some great  information.  Here is what he said.

I work on the Capatana out of Sebastian. Regarding the shard ...  most of the olive jar pieces found on the 1715 fleet wrecks will ring on a detector, as will ballast stones. They obviously have some metal content, probably iron.  I have only been diving for 2 seasons but I have found hundreds of pottery shards and I have never seen a pattern as the one posted by Dan. Also, it looks a little too thin to be an olive jar shard.

Thanks much William.

OK.  So now I don't know if it is pottery or metal.  It evidently gave off a detector signal, but I just learned that olive jars shards found on the 1715 Fleet wrecks can cause a detector signal. 

I guess the signal could be the result of mineral deposits, such as leached iron, or maybe he signal is from clay or paste bearing mineral deposits or something that was added to the paste. 

It could also be something in the glaze.   Iron glazes, for example,  are common and have been used for centuries.

When I first learned that the piece emitted a detector signal, I wondered if there might actually be something embedded in it - possibly something being smuggled.  That seems very unlikely.

Even if the piece is a type of pottery, it does not appear to be an olive jar, since according to my reading, and more importantly, William's experience, it would be rare for an olive jar to have such a decoration.

So at this point, I don't know if it is pottery or not, but if it is a piece of an olive jar, it definitely seems to be an unusual one.  Maybe it ornamentation was applied later, or maybe it was manufactured as some other object or type of container from the beginning.

It is always more difficult to identify an object from pictures when you can hold or test an object for yourself.

Even though we haven't yet solved the puzzle, I've learned a few things in the process.

I love hearing the thoughts and opinions of the many knowledgeable readers of this blog.  I didn't mention all of the excellent comments that I received relevant to this object in this post.


On the Treasure Coast we'll have a smooth surf at least until this weekend when the surf might be a touch bigger.

Happy hunting,