My first artifact of unknown origin to be found in our yard!
Joe found this axe head while tilling this past weekend. I wasn't told about it because, being quite ill, I was sleeping at the time, and with the weather, my mom didn't want me to go outside to investigate, as I was sure to do, until I got better. (Note: in the above photo, all the white is not glare... It is, in fact, frost. It was fuzzy frost... These were all taken about 7:30 am this morning, less than half an hour after sunrise.)
All I know for sure at this point about the age of the axe is that it must be post-1865 because it has "DROP FORGED" stamped into the head near the back end of it (you can see where in the photo below - its in the rectangular indentation), and that process was not used prior to 1865 (I've researched that much already - "yay!" for the internet!). My dad doesn't think that it is his... He's only had two hand axes or hatchets since they bought this property, both of which are accounted for and it doesn't look familiar. I suppose it could have belonged to the construction workers who built the house, but I can't imagine that construction workers in 1979 would have needed a small hand axe for anything on site, would they? It doesn't seem to have any visible remnants of a handle, and there is significant degradation of the metal. The blade is severely blunted and the steel seems to have cracks running from the blade end toward the back end of the head, as if they were sheets peeling away. There is also a significant chunk taken out of the bottom of the head. It does not appear to be recent, as the metal is as corroded in that area as anywhere else. There are also a number of fresh scrapes to one side of the head, probably made by the tiller's blades hitting it when it was kicked up (on the same side as "DROP FORGED" stamp, visible above). It measures 3" at the blade edge, 1-5/8" at the back end, 4-5/8" from the edge of the blade to the back end, and 3-3/4" from the top of the head to the tip of the handle piece.
More about last night's freeze and the state of all things involving plants later when I have time to transfer all those photos from my phone. Can't tell if we lost any plants yet. There was still ice all over them when I skittered back inside with the axe and the sheets that were covering the plants.
Le sigh... I showed the axe to dad again, and he says that it's one of his... He'd forgotten about it because he'd lost it so long ago, but I showed him the "DROP FORGED" stamp, which he'd overlooked before when Joe had first got it out of the ground, and that jogged his memory. Still, it's about 25 years old. So not an artifact of unknown origin, but part of the archaeological record that we've added to this land. Up until now, all I'd ever found was scraps of cement, flange from the gutters, Plexiglas and rubber screen bits from when parts of the screen over our pool had been destroyed by high wind over the years, and the occasional nail or screw.