Brass ship spike/nail? Found on Beach 0.3 Nautical Miles Downstream from Sloop Wreck

kyle369

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Apr 18, 2014
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Yesterday, I posted a thread here called a Few Whatsits and Two Bullets from Beach near Coast Guard. One of the items I asked for help identifying in particular now stands out after I read one of the responses I received:

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Icewing told me this may be a broken old brass ship's spike or nail. At his suggestion, I performed a magnet test to see if it was ferrous or not, and scratched the piece with a steel nail in two spots to see what the color of the base metal was. It is most definitely NOT magnetic, and the scratched metal definitely has a golden tone, with a silver-like gleam in sunlight.

Now if I'm correct, brass silver ship's spikes were very common for wooden boats from the 18th to the 19th century. That would line up perfectly with the description of a known sloop/ketch/skipjack that sunk right in between the mouths of Churn and Still Pond Creek (creeks branching off from the Upper Chesapeake Bay). The Superior is a sunken boat shown on a National Geographic map of sunken boats and ships in the Chesapeake Bay, listed as having sunk on 12/27/1811. A look on an ArcGIS map confirmed not only that there was a wreck in that spot, but that it is less than 0.3 nautical miles upstream from the public beach facing bayward that I was detecting!

So what is the likelihood that my spike dates no more recent then 1811? Does anyone have any information on the sloop/ketch/skipjack Superior that sunk in the Chesapeake Bay on 12/27/1811? And just what do you think of my findings and conclusions on this likely brass ship spike? Do you think I'm on to something?

Happy hunting, Kyle:metaldetector:

PS: ArcGIS also lists two visible wreck sites on the downstream side of the peninsula that I was detecting on, but I did not go to the downstream-facing side of the beach, and given their position I find it highly unlikely that the tide could have made a brass spike drift all the way around the peninsula and onto the beach on the opposite side.
 
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Icewing

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You are asking questions that require a lot more information that you have to answer.
In truth it could just as easily have been a brass punch used in situations where you don't want sparks from 1911. If I had found it, I'd habe a super cool ship spike in my curio cabinet.
You will have to come up with more than brass nails to identify a shipwreck. It's a plausible hypothesis but will require a lot of archeology or something undeniably from that ship, like a bell with the ships name cast into it.

Happy digging.
 
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kyle369

kyle369

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Apr 18, 2014
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In truth it could just as easily have been a brass punch used in situations where you don't want sparks from 1911. If I had found it, I'd have a super cool ship spike in my curio cabinet.
You will have to come up with more than brass nails to identify a shipwreck. It's a plausible hypothesis but will require a lot of archeology or something undeniably from that ship, like a bell with the ships name cast into it.

I would hope it is a ship spike and not a brass punch; fortunately, it doesn't seem to be quite the right shape compared to the pictures of brass punches I'm seeing. I think of my piece the same way as you; a super cool ship spike! Fortunately for me, there is an available copy of a book at my local library called Shipwrecks of the Chesapeake which is supposed to be an excellent resource on ship and boat wrecks in the Chesapeake Bay. Thanks again for all your help in solving the mystery of this old piece of brass, and I hope you find a cool ship's spike like mine to put in your curio cabinet soon!

Happy Hunting, Kyle
 
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Icewing

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I would hope it is a ship spike and not a brass punch; fortunately, it doesn't seem to be quite the right shape compared to the pictures of brass punches I'm seeing. I think of my piece the same way as you; a super cool ship spike! Fortunately for me, there is an available copy of a book at my local library called Shipwrecks of the Chesapeake which is supposed to be an excellent resource on ship and boat wrecks in the Chesapeake Bay. Thanks again for all your help in solving the mystery of this old piece of brass, and I hope you find a cool ship's spike like mine to put in your curio cabinet soon!

Happy Hunting, Kyle

Brass punches come in all shapes and sizes just like the rest of them.
Mayhew 61369 15 Piece Brass Kit Assortment | Punch & Chisel Sets | Striking and Cutting Tools | Hand Tools | Automotive | Toolfetch

Sorry not all of my answers are what you want to hear, and I know there are members who know far more about ship wrecks and the sort than myself.
Thanks for the good luck wish but I doubt I'll find any around the Arcanslaw Ozarks ever. Here pull tabs are part of nature and orange barrels are the state tree.
 
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