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18th Century Betty Lamp From the Virginia Frontier

My metal detecting buddy Bill Burns found this scrap of iron near the cave spring at Byrnside’s Fort. After finding it, he set it on top of a fence post, believing it to be farm junk. After noticing it on top of the fence about a year later, I immediately suspected this to be an early “Betty Lamp,” a type of grease-based lighting device. Basically an iron lamp with a bowl for some type of grease for fuel, a lid of some sort, and a spot for a wick. The shape is right. You can see that there was a hollow reservoir at some point, with a hinged lid. You can see the remnants of the curved upright handle, which would hang on an iron hanger of some sort. This would have been forged out of wrought iron by a blacksmith, and would be consistent with the lighting options available at Byrnside’s Fort during the fort occupation of the site, circa 1770-1782. It also could have been early 19th century. But it’s primitive construction suggests earlier, to me.

A new Quarantine Find: Biscayne Axe find from Addison, Vermont

This is yet another Biscayne Axe, a metal detecting ground find relic. They aren’t necessarily exciting or unusual, since they all look mostly the same. But they’re the real deal – no doubt about it, if that’s what you’re looking for. This was found in Addison, Vermont. These early 17th and 18th century axes seem to be found more often in Canada than in the U.S.A., but this was was found in the U.S.A. technically.

Some preservation work on 18th century knives, spoons, and thimbles from Byrnside’s Fort

This was an old knife found in the yard. Fortunately it still had a little bit of the bone handle with the cross cut design on it. Those get really crumbly and want to fall off. Moreover, it’s difficult to restore/preserve the iron portion of the knife without destroying the bone. I did my best though, and glued the bone to the tang, and also put a sealant on it to stop any further crumbling.

Cooking stuff recently excavated from Byrnside’s Fort, all cleaned up and preserved for the SCAV Museum

We found some some ladle, or skillet, handles in the yard at Byrnside’s Fort. They’re blacksmith made, wrought iron forged, each with a little rat tail style curl on the end for hanging around the fireplace. I finally got around to doing some preservation work on the handles in the past few days, and they …

Read moreCooking stuff recently excavated from Byrnside’s Fort, all cleaned up and preserved for the SCAV Museum

The first “Thanksgiving” in America was in Virginia – and it’s in December

Most of us who are interested in Virginia history know that Virginia’s Jamestown settlement preceded the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock, but do we also know that the Jamestown settlers celebrated their own “Thanksgiving” in 1619 – before the Pilgrims arrived? Today would not be Thanksgiving if Virginia history got its due. Americans would be …

Read moreThe first “Thanksgiving” in America was in Virginia – and it’s in December