🔎 UNIDENTIFIED What was the purpose of this and why would it be in a field?

Stormesweet

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Jan 24, 2022
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Mysterious item is part of a lot of rocks and fossils I purchased at an estate sale of a farm in Southern MN.

Everything in the box was more or less encrusted in dirt, bore varying degrees of knicks and scratches (probably from being run over multiple times by farm equipment) and splattered with bird poop. So I can infer that the farmer found these specimens on his property, didn't see them a valuable, but also too interesting to toss aside.

This sphere looks like a type of feldspar. The close up pics showed how it flakes around the damaged spots. It's not perfectly round - which could be a result of being run over, or maybe being hand-polished.

Any guesses as to its purpose and why it would be found in a field???
 

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traveller777

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Mysterious item is part of a lot of rocks and fossils I purchased at an estate sale of a farm in Southern MN.

Everything in the box was more or less encrusted in dirt, bore varying degrees of knicks and scratches (probably from being run over multiple times by farm equipment) and splattered with bird poop. So I can infer that the farmer found these specimens on his property, didn't see them a valuable, but also too interesting to toss aside.

This sphere looks like a type of feldspar. The close up pics showed how it flakes around the damaged spots. It's not perfectly round - which could be a result of being run over, or maybe being hand-polished.

Any guesses as to its purpose and why it would be found in a field???
Now that is neat. Maybe somebody on here can help you. If it was granite or some hard stone I would go way out on a limb and say it was a gunstone, or rock cannonball. I think those were not really used after 17th century so doubt that would be it unless it was some family memento, they carried with them. Maybe someone will make positive ID for you. Thanks for sharing.
 
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Stormesweet

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Jan 24, 2022
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Now that is neat. Maybe somebody on here can help you. If it was granite or some hard stone I would go way out on a limb and say it was a gunstone, or rock cannonball. I think those were not really used after 17th century so doubt that would be it unless it was some family memento, they carried with them. Maybe someone will make positive ID for you. Thanks

Could it be a Native American gaming stone?
 
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Red-Coat

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Interesting find. These concentric parallel lines (enlarged from one of your pics) are what one might expect to see on a stone ball that was turned on a lathe.

Ball.jpg

That's not how a Native American game ball would have been produced and any residual scratches not fully polished out would usually be random groups of criss-crossed lines. It is also atypically large, as 'traveller777' says.

I suppose stone shot has to be considered at least as a possibility. Although stone wasn’t used much after the 17th Century there are some anecdotal reports of its use even into the very early 19th Century in cheap iron cannons that weren’t man enough to withstand the charge required for heavier iron shot. Such balls were however usually checked with a "ball-parser" until they were reasonably uniform in diameter

But I don’t know how you would tell the difference between a stone ball made as shot and, say, a stone ball made as an architectural ornament or for other purposes… unless it was lead wrapped or found in association with artillery-reIated items. I live in a period property which has a wrought iron garden gate between two brick pillars, both of which had a stone ball on top of about that size, and one of which has gone missing. They were just cemented in place and it doesn’t look like there was ever an iron rod or anything of that kind to secure them.

I can't see it as a milling ball, or a natural piece of geology.
 
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