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Odd find; any ideas?

A visitor to a recent excavation brought the below item with him, wondering if we could identify it for him. Our best guess was a gaming piece, but no idea of date. It's a bit like a cone of hard plastic, but it isn't plastic. It's very hard, and we thought it might be slag.

Has anyone got any other suggestions, or seen something like it elsewhere? (sorry about the huge pics)


[Image: 3566723288_27fcf86010_b.jpg]

[Image: 3565910539_71e49e783c_b.jpg]

[Image: 3565910673_1fa05d9c54_b.jpg]

[Image: 3566723738_0c7a4568a1_b.jpg]

Thunder rolled. ... It rolled a six.


hows about a copper oxide rich marble sourced from a location at a sufficien height to allow for disovable mineral inclusions, moisture, or gas as part of the initial intrusion.

as for what it is, it doesn't look like it has been regularly used as any kind of pestle for a mortar so i guess a crafted game piece is a fair bet.


big guess tho of my part as im no geologist

what is jade?

txt is
Hard to judge from the picture but you should probably start by querying jade/jadite, jasper, green
quartz or low grade malachite.

If it is indeed stone I recommend a trip to your local geology society.

And I think you are probably onto something with the gaming piece idea, although it may originally
have been set in a clasp fitting (i.e. a ring, broach or pendant).

Good luck
My guess would be that it is made of stone and painted green. You can see through the scratches that the underlying stone is yellow. so forget jade, jasper etc.

Id say it was a stone conical object, painted green and leave it at that.

Actually looking again it might be better to say coated rather than painted, in which case a later post med date is more likely.
Hmmmm. Not seen one of those before.

I`d be tempted to weigh it as it resembles some clay weights I saw some years ago. Its flat base would make it an ideal weight (weights and measures stylee) and its precise weight is easily sorted during the making of the cone. The weight would become "standardised" and difficult to tamper with after firing and subsequent glazing/coating without being painfully obvious. As to dating- Med to post med looking at the glaze. Having said that, Green glaze is also not uncommon in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD.

Last time I saw a conical jobby of clay it was deemed to be Neolithic and seen as a marker of landscape routes or even as a proto-language when lots of them are placed in sequences. Gaming piece? Why not? Elaborate kiln stick/separator (keeps pots from sticking together during firing)- unlikely I think. Honestly? Not a clue.:face-huh:

..knowledge without action is insanity and action without knowledge is vanity..(imam ghazali,ayyuhal-walad)
Please could I have weight and dimensions and I will ask on UKDFD.

Website for responsible Metal Detecting
Recording Our Heritage For Future Generations.

Thankyou for all the suggestions! An interesting little thing, i think you'd agree :face-approve: I love it when the visitors bring something to get your brain working.

I don't have the exact weight of the thing, but it didn't feel right, if you know what I mean. It was a little lighter than it looked.

Diameter is about 3cm.

Good plan about showing it to a geologist; I'll be dropping over to the BGS soon, so I'll remember to take the pictures with me.

The resons we thought it might be slag are that
a) it was lighter than it looked (what a strange turn of phrase)
b) the surface is quite hard, and a bit like an opaque glass
c) there seem to be tiny bubbles visible on the surface.

But then the bubbles could be the result of a thick layer of glaze over a ceramic core (or stone), bit like faience?

An elaborate pot-separater for a kiln, troll? Well, people have done stranger things Big Grin

Thunder rolled. ... It rolled a six.
It certainly isn't slag, nor is it kiln furniture. Gaming piece sounds reasonable. Bring it along next week and let everyone have a look!

Alas I don't have it. The chap who found it was so pleased with it I was loath to borrow it. I'll see if I can get in touch with him before the 5th though so I can bring it along.
Victorian ceramic spinning top?

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