Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Today's Random Artifact Trivia: Now with Exploding Cannonballs!

If you are like me, you spent weekends as a kid looking for ancient treasure, fighting dragons, and generally exploring - possibly with a phaser blaster. Also, if you are like me, you do this well into your thirties (except now dragons are on the protected list). At any rate, whatever your means of enjoyment, there is one thing we can all agree on - a 50-55% RH level is decent for mixed collections. I know, I don't have to tell you - you are reading your HOBO environmental monitoring equipment in your home closet as we speak - checking the list, adjusting the HVAC (which you installed in your house instead of going to Fiji). So in that spirit, here is some artifact trivia to discuss on your next first date (if you really want to impress, wear white curator gloves and ask your date not to touch the good china).

- Nails did exist in ancient times. The idea that nails didn't exist may come from the fact that nails were expensive (try making them sometime) and pegs were often used.

- Native Americans have been on this continent for over 11,000 years, possibly longer. Some archaeologists claim to have found tools dating to 50,000 years ago, although this has been highly debated. In general, the earliest culture is referred to as "Clovis", and the spear/knife points have a distinctive "Gothic arch" look to them - check it out:

- The great cannonball question - Do they explode? Well, the answer is some of them do, some don't. Many cannonballs (or "roundshot" for the nerds) were hollow on the inside with a fuse/plug that was ignited when the cannon fired, this would burn and eventually ignited the charge inside. Think "Bombs bursting in air". Some cannonballs, however, were solid and used to batter ship hulls or take out fortification walls. It's a matter of taste, really - do you prefer pretty explosions or splintering wood?

- Lincoln Logs were invented by Frank Lloyd Wright's son, John Lloyd Wright in 1916...."So, your father was a famous architect. What have you ever done?"...."I invented Lincoln logs. Ever heard of them?"

That's all for now. I'm sure you have written all this down and stored the paper in proper archival sleeves. Someday, centuries from now, they will find your notes and store them in even more proper archival sleeves. With full humidity control, of course.


Anniina said...

Good thing orcs are still fair game! Great post. And you know how I feel about humidity control - I'd give up Fiji for humidity control!

Kat said...

I was one who thought nails were recent, and that cannonballs just smacked down walls and people (not that they could have explosives inside). Great mythbuster info as always. I assume the RH and HVAC refer to environments for artifacts? Where can I get white curator gloves? Might be a new fashion trend :-)

LisaBinDaCity said...

I bet John Lloyd might have out-earned the old man!