Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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CSinTX 7th June 2016 04:19 AM

Mystery Texas Blade?
 
5 Attachment(s)
Anyone recognize this item? Found in the ground in Jim Wells County, TX. Looks like a pole arm head but it's solid through the base. 4-sided blade. About 37cm long. Maybe Spanish?

ulfberth 8th June 2016 06:03 PM

Hi Casey,

it has the shape of a 16th C wing spear or boar spear it could be a halberd to.
Is it heavy for its size ? if it is it could be cast iron.

kind regards

Ulfberth

fernando 8th June 2016 06:22 PM

But ... if it has no socket :confused: :o

M ELEY 9th June 2016 12:46 AM

Spanish colonial would be as good a guess as any. It is from the right area and era. Likewise, Span colonial pieces could be incredibly primitive and rudimentary due to their isolation in the New World. The raised bar is definitely odd, rather like a bolster to pierce armor. Without a socket (assuming one didn't break off? Do you see signs of such?), it looks like a parrying dagger/sword as made by a blacksmith. Interesting piece!

ulfberth 9th June 2016 07:19 AM

The missing socket makes it puzzling indeed, perhaps it broke of as Elay said or was removed to be used as a tool.
Although the shape of the socket seem to be there ?
If its cast iron it will probably be later if not , I would place this late 15th to half 16th C. :shrug:

kind regards

Ulfberth

Tim Simmons 9th June 2016 08:04 AM

Could it be a stake or tether of some kind?

blue lander 9th June 2016 02:01 PM

Could it be a plug bayonet?

fernando 9th June 2016 02:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by blue lander
Could it be a plug bayonet?



:confused:

Jim McDougall 9th June 2016 04:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by blue lander
Could it be a plug bayonet?



As noted by Fernando, an excellent suggestion, and quite feasible if that grip obviously would concur with a gun barrel. The frontier smiths were quite creative and innovative, and often followed known European styles in fashioning their implements and arms etc. The colonies in New Spain were known for their array of often long obsolete forms of weaponry and all manner of armor, which of course was often duplicated in leather.
Clearly the center rib on this would offer strength in penetration so also would support the idea of a plug bayonet.

I honestly had not thought of that! Well done Blue Lander! Thank you .

fernando 9th June 2016 06:27 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
As noted by Fernando, an excellent suggestion,...

No Jim, indeed such idea wouldn't occur to me; actually i showed surprise ( :confused: ) for blue lander's suggestion.
Even assuming that we have never seen everything and that rustic smithing may come out with the most bizarre specimens, it is elementary and obliging that plug bayonet grips must be tapered, to enable them to be progressively introduced into barrels, and end with a swell before the guard, to limit introduction.
I suppose you have R.D.C. Evans work, and so you may recall this principle in page 7.
So i risk to say that this piece in discussion is definitely something else.

.

Jim McDougall 9th June 2016 09:04 PM

Sorry Fernando, I did not know what that emotive meant, not that tech savvy and still rely on words:) (smile)

Very well made point, and again did not notice the swell at the end of the grip which of course would defeat use as a plug bayonet. My good friend Roger would have boxed my ears for that faux pas. :) (another smile).

Ken Maddock 9th June 2016 09:06 PM

How about a decorative piece on gates or a railing on a large house or civic building?

Jim McDougall 9th June 2016 09:56 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Maddock
How about a decorative piece on gates or a railing on a large house or civic building?


Another good idea Ken!!!
This does seem to have a certain decorative flair, now to check on perhaps architectural photos of fences and ironwork surrounding estates. First though we should probably determine if this is the case, how would it be attached, there does not seem to be a socket or means for that....would it then have been sawed off ?

Ken Maddock 9th June 2016 10:17 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Five min search on google images found this range of spikes
Nothing very similar but maybe?
Regards
Ken

Jim McDougall 9th June 2016 11:26 PM

Pretty compelling Ken, nice work!

It seems the blade on this is a bit excessive as most of these examples tend to more resemble fluer de lis and certain heraldic type devices.
I am still puzzled by that distinct central ridge on the blade.
I suppose it may be possible for this to be a blacksmiths interpretation of a sword.
I am always amazed at how industrious these early frontier blacksmiths were. I recall for example what we thought were early lance heads turned out to be actually cattle prods.

M ELEY 10th June 2016 12:39 AM

Hmm...I remain unconvinced that it is a decorative fence spike. A tool perhaps, as those implements are always popping up resembling their military cousins. The crosspiece looks too much like a guard to me, but because we are guessing...we are guessing! :rolleyes:

The reinforced/raised ridge does resemble a feature found on many bayonets. I've seen French sword blades with this odd feature as well. I'm reminded of the way many of the Span colonial iron pieces were secured to hilts/hafts/shafts being quite different than their contemporaries. Early Span trade axes were axe heads sandwiched in between a split haft. Espada often had odd hilt configurations, with the tang again sandwiched in between slats of wood. My point being, perhaps IF this were a pole arm, it never had an open socket, but could have been secured to the pole via straps? I know, going fishing here. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those items we never get clarity on- :shrug:

Helleri 23rd June 2016 11:05 PM

It appears that the quillions are bladed as well?

Jim McDougall 25th June 2016 08:36 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helleri
It appears that the quillions are bladed as well?


The more I look at this, and in accord with this observation, this resembles possibly a 'pseudo-artifact' much in the line of the 'Silverbell artifacts' of Tucson Arizona. These are lead items which are decorated with alleged classical Latin inscriptions, images of swords, crosses etc. and seem to have been 'planted' in these areas in early 20th c.
They were 'discovered' in 1924 and after much scrutiny, claimed to be 'fakes' by well known antiquarians.
It is believed they were fashioned by a young Mexican boy skilled in lead sculpting (these were lead) and who had a fascination with foreign languages and history.

The 'ribs' on this item may be of course from casting molds?

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 27th June 2016 03:31 PM

A CATTLE BRANDING IRON. :shrug:

Jim McDougall 29th June 2016 06:34 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
A CATTLE BRANDING IRON. :shrug:


Good one Ibrahiim!!!
Actually, some time ago we were examining a Spanish colonial item which appeared to be a lance head (which I would consider with this if there was a socket). Said item turned out to be an ox goad (Simmons and Turley, 1980, p.87). While of course in some degree disappointing, it must be remembered that on these frontiers, even the most pedestrian and utilitarian items also served as weapons as required. There remains the admittedly remote possibility that this might have been a blacksmith 'test' project, however iron was a precious commodity and typically recycled as required, so that may discount this idea.

*"Southwestern Colonial Ironwork", Simmons & Turley, 1980, is an outstanding resource!!

CSinTX 30th June 2016 04:22 AM

Thanks everyone for their thoughts. Unfortunately I do not have the item in possession so I cant offer any more on it.

I do wonder if it could be a very large tent stake. That might explain the odd bend that could result from being driven in to the hard ground found in that area.


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