Contrary to Widespread Belief, There is a Spoon


Yesterday I did another hour with my metal detector in the disused potato patch where I found a 17th century coin in September 2008. No luck really this time: the only coin I found dates from 1973 and the rest of the stuff wasn’t much older than that. But I did make one unusual find: a nickel-silver soup spoon from about AD 1900.


It’s not an unusual kind of cutlery. The design, known as Gammal Fransk, “Old French”, is a perennial classic. But you rarely find complete pieces of cutlery in tilled soil. It probably ended up on the plot with garbage after cultivation ceased.

Nickel silver, by the way, is brass with enough nickel added to give it a silvery colour.

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6 thoughts on “Contrary to Widespread Belief, There is a Spoon

  1. “It probably ended up on the plot with garbage after cultivation ceased.”

    Too far, though used that way in popular speech and by careless archeos. Probably? you have data, even anecdotal, about the garbage dumping practices there on that land since 1900? If not, “may have” would be better.

    I think it was probably used in a poisoning in the 1940’s, that the poisoner was afraid the substance could be detected on the spoon and so buried it where it would not be found for a long time. My data is human nature. Or it “may have”, better.

    Persnickety, eh. [I know it’s your second language and you are very good at it. And I know some archeos writing English before you used ‘probably’ when they meant ‘possibly’, to sound more certain and knowledgeable.]


  2. @david: too persnickety, popular speech was probably the intended mode here. Anyway, it’s better in my book to stick your neck out with a good guess than to bore everyone with scholarly detachment. Martin has a lot of non-archaeo readers to think of here.


  3. The post-cultivation garbage dumps are still sitting recognisably on top of the disused potato patch. There is also an area with visible charcoal and a great number of iron signals where clearly a bonfire of nail-riddled boards has burned.


  4. I found a spoon from Berns salonger – old fashioned restaurant in Stockholm – south of Stockholm in a field when fieldwalking after Bronze Age stone artefacts. August Strindberg wrote a book with this restaurant as a central place for the action in that book (“red room”).

    Strange situation: walking in to Bronze Age cultural landscape in mind, and finding an old spoon from a fashionable restaurant for high society in Stockholm 100 years ago in a empty, windy field on the countryside.


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