Mystery Artifact Found - Do you know what it is?

in archeology •  3 months ago

My father and I unearthed this artifact while we were playing around with a giant rare earth magnet. I machined a thin stainless steel sleeve for a 1 inch diameter rare earth magnet so that I could attach it to the end of a long pole. It works like a poor mans metal detector; you can just poke around on the ground and the magnet will pick up all kinds of metal bits.

We were using the magnet at the very back edge of our property here in central Virginia near a spot where there used to be a road. My neighbor says that the road was notorious for turning to mud in the spring and his father was the only one who had a tractor back in the late 1940's, so it was up to him to come pull the stuck cars out. When the county put in a paved road they moved the right of way to the other side of our property where there is more level ground. Now the old road bed is just a ravine on the property line.

Dad and I were rooting around with the magnet and picked up this interesting piece of hand forged iron. Can you guess what it is? I have a pretty good idea, but I will wait a few days before I post it so that you can try to figure it out.

Fact that it was on a road is good clue. Here is another. The piece of hardware that this came from probably had two of these things on it and the other one broke. In the middle of the video you can see that the loop of metal is worn very thin, but it isn't quite broken yet.

We found this at the bottom of a short steep incline. The strain of going up the hill probably snapped the metal on the other piece. This one was worn out, too, so they just abandoned it on the side of the road.

Leave a comment if you have a guess!

Cheers, Professor Bromide

▶️ DTube

EDIT -- This picture shows a fitting that is very similar on a whiffletree. The wooden bar goes right behind a horse. Two chains run from the hooks up to the horse's collar. The center ring is attached to the plow, disk, or some other farm implement.

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I recognized it right away. :-)

Well, they also had another use, for processing livestock.
Hooks through the Achilles tendon to drag and hoist it. Also used with A-frames to dip hogs for scalding. A lot of them would also have a metal bar across the back to help brace the wood.

I'd never have guessed that!! Thought it was something for towing cars.. ha ha


I'd never have guessed
That!! Thought it was something for
Towing cars.. ha ha

                 - ablaze

I'm a bot. I detect haiku.


It could be used as a skyhook if you mule could stand on a cloud.

Posted using Partiko Android

Looks like a hook from a block and tackle rig but it could have been just a hook used for pulling out stuck vehicles or a hook used by loggers. Just a few things that come to mind here. I'm guessing that from the shape of the 'ring' part of it that it was used with either rope or cable.


The hook on the right held a chain. The piece on the left is wide and flat to spread out the load on the member it was attached to.

Posted using Partiko Android


Now that you term it like that it makes me think that it was either used as part of the hitch assembly on a wagon or perhaps used to hang a lantern from on a wagon.

Also you are the only other person I have ever heard of making a 'magnet stick' like that. I made one about ten years ago with a ninety dollar magnet that is about one inch tall and one inch wide. I mounted it to a fiberglass handle with a rubber grip that I think was from a golf club.


I'm pretty sure it is part of the hitch. In a few hours I will post a picture of what the rest of it would have looked like.

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Yeah it makes sense. Especially with the shape of the 'ring' on the left.

That's a clever use for those magnets. I've been saving a bunch of neodymium magnets from hard drives. Maybe I should try something similar.


They sure make finding metal objects lost in high grass much easier! That is mainly what I have used mine for over the years.

@cleverbot, what do you think this thing is?

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