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Old 30th July 2013, 05:06 PM   #1
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Default A hunting lance ... and a hook

These are indeed rustic pieces. It all indicates they are Portuguese; they were acquired in a local regional fair. Both pieces came together and the sockets have similar construction; no reason do reject this is a working set. The strong hook is said (by its seller) to be used to drag the game when abated. Do you guys find this plausible?
Would i be far from the truth to date these things as from the 18th century?
Thanks for your comments.

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Old 31st July 2013, 01:13 AM   #2
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The hook looks a bit like a fish gaff. I can imagine a peasant keeping this set stashed away in the attic for a little poaching.
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Old 31st July 2013, 01:22 AM   #3
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Hello Fernando. I like your new acquisitions. Both are very rustic, but have enormous character. I see no reason why they wouldn't date to 18th or early 19th c. in construction and aging. The shafts have nice patina. I'm wondering if these might be Spanish colonial (again!), only because of their 'construction under extreme conditions' i.e. rough blacksmith qualities. They could, of course, be crude hunting implements, but most of what we see coming from the big countries, especially in hunting, is usually much more upper scale. I'll give you my opinion, as weak as it may be, based on guess-work and deductive reasoning.

The item that looks like a lance is too small to be a lance. Moving on. It is too short and not strong enough to be a military pike. If it is a spear, it is poorly made and couldn't be thrown far. So...

I think your pointed object is either a trench spear (popular in Spanish colonial regions and in the Americas) or it is a primitive boarding pike.

As you know, boarding pikes were much smaller than their battlefield equivalents, ranged from well-made to put-together items stored in large groups, and were just basically pointy sticks to stab boarders with as they clambered over the side. Early pikes, pre-1800, had leaf-shaped or diamond-shaped points, much like yours. You can see similar in Gilkerson, as well as Neuman's.

If we propose that the item is a boarding pike and that the other piece, with its similar age/construction/socket, etc, are a pair, than the other hook piece is probably a gaff. You can do a search for early ship's tools and see colonial-period gaffs resembling your hook almost exactly. I recently saw a well-documented one which had two hooks on either side and a center spike, almost like an early spontoon. It had the primitive socket and about a foot of old shaft left on it. I was surprised how poorly cut the wood pole was, being warped and rather thin. It had supposedly come from a wreck at the North Carolina coast (the Graveyard of the Atlantic, as they like to call it).

Anyway, it does fir the description. Of course, you know me! I see something 'nautical' in everything I look at-

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Old 31st July 2013, 12:08 PM   #4
Richard G
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Spears for hunting boar on foot were always quite short. I have seen pig sticking lances that unscrew half way down so that the bottom half only can be used on foot.
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Old 31st July 2013, 04:47 PM   #5
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Thanks for your comments, Gentlemen.
... which, together with an opinion from a local famous collector and after some couple hours browsing the Web on the subject, i am inclined to admit that the two pieces don't necessarily have to be a pair, opening the doors for other inferrements on their use.
I concur with the gaff theory; in this case a gaff for tuna capture, due to its strenght and considering this was an activity well explored in Portugal until recent techniques appeared.

The other piece is still a lance for me; mind the linguistic universe in that we don't use the term spear ove here. A small rustic hunting lance for small game.
Boar lances are obviously sturdier; i guess i have one that fits into it.
So Mark, your taste for nautical stuff is not betrayed, the gaff specimen being your support ... not pirate wise, but still nautical .
... And certainly pretty rustic, nothing impeaching them to have served later as multi purpose devices. Well old, even possibly 17th century, as my local source diagnosed.
Naturaly these are only assumptions; a better (or any further) comment is always welcome.

Last edited by fernando : 31st July 2013 at 05:12 PM.
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