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RE-WRITING HISTORY? Spanish Artifact Confirmed To Be From 16th Century.

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For those still interested in the subject I'm thinking a bit of history would be helpful in understanding one of the two main reasons I am so sure this could not be a 500 year old wheel lock pistol part.

The material the part is made of is not iron or steel. It looks like brass. If it were a 500 year old iron part found in the ground it would have rust. I think all detectorists that have worked desert land know this would happen even in the driest environment. The dig site area is much wetter than the deserts here in the southwest. If you can agree to that simple fact we can move on to what it might be composed of.

The basic appearance appears to be corroded brass, It has the slight green patina of copper and the white spalling of zinc. But that is an impossibility for a 500 year old pistol lock screw. Not just because I have never seen a 500 year old brass pistol lock screw but because it's pretty easy to establish there never were any.

Most people assume that it went something like this - Bronze age, Brass age, Iron age, Steel age. But the fact is any early brass was a mistake that couldn't be reproduced. Brass couldn't be made on a large scale commercial level before the 18th century. 1738 to be exact. That's due to the fact that unlike the copper and tin used to make bronze the zinc needed to make brass doesn't occur in a free form in nature and ordinary smelting results in zinc vapor, no zinc metal and dead smelter operators. Before that time the few bits of brass that had been produced were used in early clocks and clockwork type parts. It was popular for small plaques and ornamental bits - rich guy stuff. Probably it's main use outside of the rich guy showing off market, was was as pin material in weaving mills.

A screw made of brass during that time would not have been used for a large clamp due to the fact that the low zinc content made a very soft brass that would bend or deflect in hard use. Remember this particular screw is used to clamp a sharp rock in a flat steel anvil so it could be slammed with force against a rotating steel wheel. If the rock moves the pistol doesn't fire. Unlike a flintlock the stone being clamped was pyrite, not flint.  A brass screw would have been about as useful as a copper screw 500 years ago. Even modern composition brass screws are not used with coarse threads for clamping. The brass will stretch and eventually twist off when enough pressure is applied.

Those dates and facts just don't jive with a 500 year old brass gun part.

I'm hearing the protests already so I'm going to supply all the doubters with a reference that will save me a whole bunch of typing with my one stiff old typing finger. From the Copper Industry's own education association. Brief Early History of Brass

So that leaves us with the possibility of a bronze replacement screw. My finger is tired and it's late anybody else want to explain the absurdity of a bronze coarse threaded screw for clamping?

Edited by clay
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On ‎8‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 2:21 PM, wet/dry washer said:

 Northwest Arkansas has a Spanish gold mine, tourist attraction. They were up in Minnesota also.

Jim Campbell in Yuma found a Spanish sword on a mountain top east of black mountain where Yuma has there TV and communication towers.

Spanish where the first to mine silver from the paymaster mine. They left a cart trail from there to the lower Chocolate mountains, where they mined silica to smelt silver. Paymaster landing on the Colorado River where they brought their ship's.

Pegleg Smith left his mark on a boulder near there. TLS 1825.

In the lower Chocolate mountains half mile from the Spanish trail. Found a 12" up-side-down U, carved into an iron wood tree. Was told it was a Spanish symbol for cathedral.


Is Jim Campbell still around? I would love to chat with him about his find, I am tracing all of the locations of finds around Yuma as part of the "In search of Uncle Sam" history project on the lower Colorado. So far we know of chest armor, shields, Spanish horse shoes, Buckles, ect.  we have not heard of his sword.

I would also love to hear more about Peg leg Smith petroglyph and the Upside down U arborglyph sounds amazing. one of our task is mapping petroglyph and arborglyph sites.My anthropology friend did his PHD thesis on Arborglyphs  and to date is the only north American anthropologist specializing in them. They are few and far between as trees usually had shorter lifespans than rock.

There is a good chance his Jim' sword could relate to the Yuma Battle 1850's or even the Yuma Mass 1540 as both relate to Yuma  location.  I have personally studied and held more than 2000 swords and edge weapons and could tell him a great deal about it! If there Is anything I don't know about a sword there is someone I can consult with as I have been involved in the sword community for over 30 years - from pro collectors to PHD experts my list is long when it comes to edge weapons.

As far as this (Flint lock) piece  -  it sounds to me like they are on the right track with the metal testing, Both Iron and Bronze of that antiquity would be very unique in physical property, The bronze for example would have to be void of tin and Zink, it would have to contain .05 percent Arsenic if it was  that old. Thousands and thousands of antiquated guns flooded in to the United states during the many wars and throughout the fir trade and westward advance. News records from the Three Rivers Trading Post  advertised that a single worthless old musket could be traded to the Natives for as many as 50 beaver pelts or two striped puma pelts. That advertisement and many like it caused old weapons from all over the world to be crated up and shipped to America with many other items for trade. I am certain the experts working on that piece are aware of all of this and they likely have other data or associated artifacts that they are working with to claim their site is Spanish and that old! 

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Well Clay, it appears that you have may have established a prima facie case for your argument  (or thesis),  if all things are taken at face value. My thoughts about the matter from it's inception can be summed up sort of like the punchline of the old joke:  "What do you get when you cross an Elephant with a Rhino?  

'El,  If I No !

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No one is arguing your knowledge of guns. Nor do you need to cite the history of copper. You may be completely correct about this not being a functional gun part. You may be completely correct that the screw would not be functional nor the ideal choice of metals. But that does not alter the facts nor the hypothesis at all.

The metal in the part (probably the steel part) has been dated by metallurgy. That part (not the screw) may very well have been from the date range the metallugists say it was from. We don’t have the metallurgists report. All we have is a brief news article written by some kid in Grand Junction. No doubt the metallurgists saw that there is a steel part and a brass part. Just because that was not discussed in the article does not mean that they are ignorant of the fact. Nor does the presence of a brass screw alter the origin of the steel part.

No one is claiming this was a functioning part form a Spanish pistol. No one is saying this could not be a repurposed part. All that has been claimed is that the metal from this part has been dated back to that time and this raises questions. All else is speculation that may or may not be true. And the fellow in the article discusses this fact very honestly.

Surely you can understand that your argument does not prove that this part is not exactly what they think it is. A 500 year old part from a pistol.

As I already pointed out some fellow might have run that (brass, bronze, whatever) screw in there 100 years later and made a nipple clamp out of it. Or this whole archaeological site might be nothing but a collection of old stuff from various sources. No one is saying this is proof of Spanish in Grand Junction. They are just saying this part dates back that far. And of course they are romanticizing with the questions it raises.

This is why your argument is on a tangent. You are 100% correct about everything you are saying. But that still does not mean that this is not a 500 year old part from a wheel lock just like the researchers think it is. And in line with the metallurgical study. 

With all due respect to you and scientific process. Your argument does not exclude the hypothesis. It only proves that the part, as found, was not a functional gun part in it’s original design. It does not counter any claims made by the Museum at all. It is an assemblage of facts that appear to counter it. It is convincing testimony. But it does not prove the researchers wrong.



Edited by Bedrock Bob
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I'm still holding out for more convincing proof of 500 yr old Spanish presence at the site. Such as remnants of clam shells and traces of saffron, or perhaps a hardly identifiable, rusted out old Paella pan that age dates to the period in question. Then, I would more likely be persuaded to believe in their theory. Additionally, there should be at least a few remaining shards of La Copita, Rioja or Malaga bottles to further support the conclusion. Conversely, if evidence of a Sherry container were to be found, the unfortunate controversy surrounding British origination of the site, might rear its ugly head again . . .  :rolleyes:




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