A small discovery

By Iain Grant.

A Small Discovery 30th  June 2011.

With the strong south-westerly winds we have been having here, for the last several weeks we have had no diving, so nothing of note to report.

That is until cleaning some copper alloy recoveries ready for storage the other day, I had a feeling that a number of these artefacts, recovered over several seasons fitted together, not to make a stand of some sort as we had previously thought, but to make a lamp of some kind.

So after searching the internet for something of similar design, it seems what we may actually have is several parts of a whale oil lamp of the late seventeen, early eighteenth century.

Although I have found various examples of these lamps on the net, I have not seen one of exactly the same design as ours, granted we do not have all the parts as yet & due to the excess of sand overburden on site at present, it may be some time before we recover any more, making it difficult to come up with an exact overall form.

In fact, the parts of this lamp pose rather more questions than answers, such as: were such lamps used onboard ships of the period? I have found no mention in any of my reference books or on the net so far, all the examples observed to date stand on a single foot, would this have been seen as safe onboard ship? Or would such a lamp be on gimbals, or hung from a chain? Was the lamp even used on Hazardous, or was it a personal import, bought as a curio by one of the officers whilst ashore in foreign parts?

If anyone can answer any of the above questions, or indeed shed any light (excuse the pun) on the subject, we would like to hear from you.

In the mean time the images below show some of the parts we have, which I believe go towards making something similar to the image on the right!