Back to metal – modern “junk” (?)

junkIf you thought that I am done sharing about my new actuality of metal detecting, you are wrong – I intend to continue taking up aspects this new vocation of mine has inspired me to (and -yes- at some point, there will be some newly discovered Late Iron age findings presented as well 😉 ).

When I started to work with metal detector, I expected to find and dig a lot of what is considered to be junk. And, at first, looking at the growing amount of my finds, I thought that I am, indeed, finding a lot of junk. I do dig what I am sure most of people consider rubbish, such as foil and bottle caps. I also dig bullets and cartridge cases, which I consider as a junk, but I do know that there are people (including archaeologists) who are interested in such finds. But then, there is a number of finds that I considered as a junk, but I am about to reconsider – to some degree. The thing is that while presenting detector findings by just laying these on the table, many people often reach to look at things they recognise. And among the findings that I have made – in addition to coins – thimbles, keys and buckles have great popularity 🙂

Thimbles, keys and buckles

From the Kvarnbo Hall site I have discovered one thimble in the form of a ring and two customary thimbles, but I have no good idea about their age. The problem with the thimbles that were used simply solely for pushing a needle through fabric or leather as it is sewn and not as collectibles is that they look very alike throughout centuries. However, in rough terms, analysing the small dimples on the thimble might help with dating – before the middle of the 18th century dimples were done by hand and, thus, a thimble with an irregular pattern of dimples dates likely before the mid 18th century. Furthermore, from the mid 18th century, the shape of thimbles is much less domed than before, and the metal is thinner. From the three thimbles found at the Kvarnbo Hall site, one has clearly handmade dimples and seems to be older than the other two.

When it comes to keys it is probably easier to determine their age. In case of the two keys discovered in Kvarnbo, however, I can only say that none of these is from the Late Iron Age, because Iron Age keys just look different. Both keys are quite so small and the better preserved one looks more like a key used for a clock… for a table clock?… Just as the keys, buckles are also easier to date than thimbles and browsing through the Internet, you can find quite a lot of information about buckles – for example, following this link. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that I can say anything sensible about the buckles I have dug so far 😛

People are and have always loosing things. While losing a thimble or a buckle wasn’t probably such a big loss, losing a key must have been quite annoying. But losing a ring might be emotionally devastating – I have found a simple finger ring of silver from the Kvarnbo Hall site and I do think that the loss of it made someone sad back in the history. But again, I have no good idea about how far back in the history we should put this item. From my “Late Iron age point of view” it is a non-diagnostic item (and thereby fairly junkish 😉 ).

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