Monday 24 August 2020

FLO Struggles With Decontextualised Thingy [updated]

Photo PAS
Object type certainty: Possibly
Workflow status: Find awaiting validation
A possible fragment of a Roman (Bronze Age?) copper-alloy saw, similar to BM-AF446A.SF 688.The Piercebridge Divers [sic]
The fragment is slightly concave and has a square piercing at one end. The object is 38.47mm long; 18.55mm wide; 1.04mm thick and weighs 3.05g
Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder
Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN
Period to: ROMAN 

Submit your error report:
It is not a saw (or a "possible fragment of saw", what does that actually mean?). The object is too small and the teeth too coarse (it would jam) - it could not be used as such with no hafting, and yet there is no way to secure a haft, is there? Depending on "what" copper alloy it is, it could also be too soft and the teeth would bend. Neither does it appear from your photos to be a fragment. One possible use is as a potter's or modeller's tool, for removing excess clay, for example in forming a base ring, or applying grooved or stamped decoration. The hole would allow a cord to be attached to avoid losing it during work. But the fact that the site context of this decontextualised item found by a metal detectorist does not allow you to say whether it is Bronze Age or Roman is a bit of a hindrance in offering any kind of an interpretation. What would it have been found with?   

Now tell us please, if the find has already gone back to the finder, how is that description going to be 'validated'? And the findspot information, how was/will that be validated? 

the name has come back to me, it looks like a potter's rib (images). Of course if it as not now in some private collection, you could perhaps look and see if the original surface is well-enough preserved to exhibit diagnostic use-wear marks.


Paul Barford said...

Good grief. You really do not understand do you? "The object is 38.47mm long" is what it says. It appears to be a complete object. Now break your hacksaw blade to 38.47mm. And repeat it, otherwise it proves nothing. Certainly does not disprove what I said, which is that scrap of metal cannot be used as a "saw". Also you did not show teh hacksaw blade side-on, but it looks to me as if the teeth are at least three/four times finer than those on yout artefact. And again, have you ever held a saw before? If you cut from both sides you'd not get that jagged burr. But brave try. Nice gloves.

What I would do if I (as a self-respecting archaeologist) were verifying somebody else's description would be to compare what they said about it with the actual object itself. Where, and how much is it "concave" for example. So if it has gone back to the finder, I can't do that, so it's not "verification" of anything except your spelling.

The ACTUAL point we are discussing is how you verified the findspot (FINDSPOT). Or did you just take the finder's word for it? That goes for the imaginary helmet that's not on your desk, but if ever it were would you take steps to verify the finder's claim?

Finally thank you for showing me the Piercebridge thing. It is very odd indeed, certainly looks like raked teeth, but the anonymous author(ess?) of that description also needs to do some sawing, as those teeth are different sizes, such a "saw" would not cut smoothly, would it. Looks more like a ratchet. Anyway, here we see the disadvantages of lazy and quick photography over a considered drawing of that thing. PAS used to do drawings. In order to help interpret it, I'd like to know how the 'back' of that object resolves, what has caused it to look like that. The photo is not at all clear is it? Why are descriptions no longer ascribed an authorship, are you all ashamed of your work that you refuse to put your names under it? Phew.

Anyway, thanks for having a go. Consider me not convinced.

Paul Barford said...

Oh, and by the way in my error report submitted this morning, you'll find an alternative explanation better suited to the form. Don't know though that I can be arsed to hunt down references for you too. You get paid for doing these things I do not.

Sorry to hear you're on sick leave. Depending on what it is, it's probably better than mixing with all those potentially virus-carrying tekkies though.

Hougenai said...

Fish de-scaler?
Modern versions tend to have more teeth, handles and scale catchers, but in 1600 years or so some evolution should be expected.
Anecdotally, I remember penknives from my youth with a 'blade' with one serrated edge (ie rounded teeth) and a small notch in the distal end (hook disgorger).

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