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Old 24th August 2010, 06:02 PM   #1
fernando
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Default A humble rustic lance head

Found right there on the ground, when my friend passed by an old track, driving his tractor, in a little interior village, in the north of the country.
Probably someone found it somewhere else (a child?) and left it in its new location, so visible .
The blade measures 22 cms (close to 9").
It has the looks of an old thing (XVII century?), not only due to its excavated and rusty condition, but also because of its rusticity.
Certainly an approach to a local defence lance head, i would say .
BTW, we don't use the term 'spear' over here; lance is the generic term.

Coments will be so much welcome ... even if disappointing

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Old 26th August 2010, 12:38 PM   #2
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Moved from European Arms forum.
Perhaps this is better placed in this section.
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Old 26th August 2010, 01:59 PM   #3
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Hi Nando ,
the socket worries me, being so 'open' (ie the socket 'edges' are not fully closed) the 'strength' of the shaft fixing to the 'head' would be decreased. The offset 'blade' is not often seen on spears, but is easier to manufacture.
My initial 'feeling' is that it could be agricultural However, 'peasants' were often pressed into service as millitary combatants, being relatively 'poor', unable to afford quality weaponry, many agricultural implements were utilised or modified. Alternatively a peasant's hunting spear

Hopefully, there may be more definitive answers.....

Kind Regards David

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Old 26th August 2010, 02:47 PM   #4
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ITS ALWAYS COOL TO FIND SOMETHING LIKE THIS. I HUNT ARTEFACTS HERE. MOST ARE STONE POINTS AS THE AMERICAS CAME OUT OF THE STONE AGE RELATIVLY RECENTLY IN HISTORY. IT IS ALWAYS A THRILL TO ACTUALLY FIND SOMETHING EVEN IF IT IS COMMON OR POORLY MADE. JUDGEING FROM YOUR LANCE HEADS CONDITION IT LAY WITH THE OPEN THINNER SIDE OF THE SOCKET FACEING UP, WHICH COULD EXPLAIN IT BEING BROKEN AND MORE OPEN THAN IT WAS ORIGINALLY. NATURE COVERS AND UNCOVERS THINGS MANY TIMES OVER THE YEARS SO ITS POSSIBLE IT MAY HAVE LAY WHERE IT WAS FOUND. A LOOK AT THE SOIL WHERE IT LAY COULD HAVE CONFIRMED IF IT ARRIVED RECENTLY OR HAD LAIN THERE FOR A VERY LONG TIME. THE GROUND FREEZING AND THAWING AS WELL AS EROSION CAN EXPOSE BURRIED OBJECTS.
IT IS CRUDELY FORGED USING AS LITTLE IRON AS POSSIBLE SO IT WAS PROBABLY MADE FOR USE BY PESANTS BY A LORD OR PERHAPS A PESANT HAD IT MADE BY THE LOCAL SMITH. IF IT COULD ONLY SPEAK
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Old 26th August 2010, 05:08 PM   #5
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Thanks a lot for your input, folks.
I am more with Barry on what concerns the socket aperture. It all indicates that one of the folders was corroded by the acid soil.
Indeed the offset blades are often seen in this type of rustic artifacts, David, judging by two other examples i have in my collection, which are no doubt lance heads. This would be one of the reasons i took this one to be a rather early piece.
I reckon its construction is a bit fragile; however the blade has all the looks of an actual weapon and this still could (could) well be an artisanal "chuço" (the antecessor of the pike), massively used by peasants for own defence or engaged into war infants.

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Old 26th August 2010, 08:26 PM   #6
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Spears can be so difficult to place and date. Fernando's spear of interest appears to be of fairly simple design and I suspect the socket never was completely closed. I believe that 'rustic' is a a very good description for the forging of this lance - simple, but adequate. I'd surely think it is at least a couple of hundred years old, if not more and, being of good size, likely would have been both for hunting and local defense.

Of course, it is difficult to really know what has been lost to corrosion and I have rather arbitrarily selected to show what I interpret as two small Migration Period javelin heads originally made with a partially open socket and have omitted showing a pattern-welded winged lance head that I believe has opened through corrosion.

I'd expect a large lance head made by a skilled smith to have a well formed, complete socket. But how much effort would be placed into sockets of smaller javelins, meant to be thrown and more likely made for the hunt? Surely with adhesive and wrapping, these partially open sockets should have been adequate for that purpose.
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Old 27th August 2010, 01:44 PM   #7
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Thank you so much Lee, for your input and for the inclusion of those very nice examples.
It seems as indeed regional lances and similar items, being procuced by the local multiuse smith, didn't have the care taken by arsenals, like centering the socket to the blade an with give it enough material for full wraping.
Herewith pictures of three more examples, foccusing on such sections, with a "would be" ID:
A XVI cent. hunting lance, a XVII cent. defence lance and a XVI-XVII cent. polearm head.
Although clearly belonging to different breeds, their rusticity speaks for itself.

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