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Larry G




Location: South Florida
Joined: 04 May 2011

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 8:50 pm    Post subject: Crude bronze dagger- antique, or 20th century shop project?         Reply with quote

I found this item buried in the ground about 5" deep while metal detecting in my dad's yard on the Miami Ridge about one mile south of the mouth of the Miami River (florida)..-he's owned his home since 1977, it was built in 1925; before 1923 it was a tropical forest.The area was very lightly inhabited sporadically before the 1890's, panthers still roamed the ridge at that time. Before the 1890s there had been some Bahamians, a few squatters, Seminole Indians (2nd and to a lesser degree, the 3rd Seminole wars caused the population of Biscayne Shore as it was known then, to evacuate en mass), US Army was at Fort Dallas on the north shore of the Miami River engaged with the Seminoles; there were planters at various times; and on a few occasions, there were Spanish here, going back to Ponce de Leon, from 1516 until 1744. I nicked the metal and it is gold colored under the "patina.", indicating to me it is probably bronze. The edges of the blade have been ground sharp. It looks to me like bronze bar stock, or braising rods? I wonder if the white patches are leached out lead. My dad thinks it predates the house; he thinks someone made this dagger using a fire, anvil, hammer, and wheel grinder, motivated by the need for a weapon in a wild region. I'm trying to learn more about the previous inhabitants, but all I know is that it wasn't made by the people who sold the house to my dad. The original occupant was a woman who founded a garden club and planted the gardens around the house (which really interfere with my artifact hunting). I don't know yet if there were any other inhabitants. The blade is bent and the tip broken. There are grinding marks everywhere except the inside of the rods in the tang area. I don't think it was a belt-sander because of the sharp angle of some of the planes. The thought occurred to me that it may have been made to keep aboard a boat -bronze would be corrosion resistant, and with the hole in the pommel area it could be hung on a hook for easy storage and quick access . The property is 1/4 mile from the bay. About 2 miles north is the Miami Circle. Inside the circle human vertabra from beheadings were found 12" deep. They haven't been dated yet, but obviously they are pretty old. So at 4-5" deep, this knife may date back a century or more. Does anyone think it could be spanish? Perhaps a replacement weapon made on ship? A bronze blade would have been perfectly adequate against the Indians. I understand bronze is harder than iron, but brittle. I also understand that many of the men had to supply their own arms depending on the expedition and circumstances. Has anyone heard of a crude bronze weapon being found in any of these spanish shipwrecks? Though I suppose laden treasure ships plying the waters between colonial Mexico and Spain, were pretty luxurious affairs compared to exploration vessels, and such quickly made rough weapons would never have been needed on such a voyage.


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Bill Grandy
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Location: Alexandria, VA USA
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PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 9:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Larry,
It doesn't look like any form of dagger I've ever seen, and the fact that it is so crude also suggests it is something else. I suspect it is something more like a pavillion stake. In other words, you stick the pointy end in the ground, and tie a rope to the loop.

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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Thu 05 May, 2011 5:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The grinding marks suggest that it may have originally been a pavillion stake and someone used an angle grinder to turn it into a blade. I remember doing stuff like that when I was a kid.
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Larry G




Location: South Florida
Joined: 04 May 2011

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu 05 May, 2011 8:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
The grinding marks suggest that it may have originally been a pavillion stake and someone used an angle grinder to turn it into a blade. I remember doing stuff like that when I was a kid.


So, it could be a pavilion stake made from what looks like bronze bar stock (in the tang area), with both a curved crossbar and a ring to attach ropes to, but then modified with a grinder into a double-edged, sharpened blade. Thanks, guys, that could work possibly.
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