Antique Archaeology

October 24, 2010 by staff 

Antique Archaeology, Hyannis, Mass. – Laura McHenry began walking the beaches of Cape Cod in search of sea glass a few years ago when her marriage dissolved and he was looking for something that she and her daughter Katie, could do together for fun.

“Sometimes we’ll just sit on the rocks and just combed,” said McHenry, who lives in Centerville, Massachusetts, and Katie, 10, displayed the close. “It’s a great place to talk.”

History points to Rachel Mack, of Grandview-on-Hudson, NY “This could have come from the Media Luna,” he said, pointing to the white clay pipe stems, every one to two inches long and perhaps half a inch in diameter. She believes that these artifacts when kayaks along the river Henry Hudson sailed 400 years ago.

Richard LaMotte’s wife got him into it. She’s a jeweler who works with sea glass, and went with her on expeditions to the beaches of the Chesapeake Bay near his home in Chestertown, Maryland Mr. LaMotte, who works for a water companyanlysis equipment He became interested in how it affected the acidity of the water glass, and how the chemicals used to make glass changed its color for decades. Soon he was consulting archaeologists and the study of the history of American glassmaking. Now his book “Pure Sea Glass (Sea Glass Publishing, 2004) is a bible for collectors.

They and hundreds of fans gathered here this month for the annual meeting of the North American Sea Glass Association, to celebrate a love that seems an odd mix of amateur archeology, environmental monitoring and collection of antiques, with a chemistry bit thrown in.

In the meeting that trade shards of glass and china, buy and sell sea glass jewelry and crafts, seek the help of experts to determine its findings and listen to presentations from the wrecks, the glass industry and other topics.

Membership is growing and enthusiastic, Mary Beth Beukes of Sequim, Wash., the group’s president, said in an interview, and sales of sea glass and crafts are on the rise, although the crystal itself is becoming increasingly difficult find. ”

Despite the sea of glass collectors speak of bottles, porcelain and other charges lost in the shipwrecks, most sea glass originated much more prosaic, in the trash thrown into the sea or coastal landfill stacked. A blue piece may be the remains of a jar or a bottle of Bromo-Seltzer, Noxzema, old Coca-Cola and beer bottles produced fragments of pale green and dark brown. However, this type of dumping is mostly a thing of the past; bottles are made of thin glass and plastic has replaced glass in many products.

However, collectors and volunteers at the meeting said there is much to know if you know where and when to look and what to look. According to Mr. LaMotte, often orange helmets from glassware manufactured in the Art Deco period of tableware manufactured in 1900. red fragments are rare – old Schlitz beer bottles are one source. Fragments of yellow glass was made with uranium dioxide. These fragments glow when exposed to ultraviolet light or “black.”

But hunters sea of glass, not necessarily limited to glass. Some look for pieces of crockery, bottle caps, pieces of toys, marbles – virtually everything left hand of the man who fell into the sea.

Dedicated glass collectors are looking in antique stores, at shows for collectors of bottles and museums. Eventually, some become experts in identifying, even is small.

In her presentation, Ms. Mack picked up what looked like a dark gray stone. Small chips unveiled its glossy black interior – “Glass of the 1700s,” he said. “It is likely that held the beer.”

The meeting also offers plenty of tips on how to find good places to hunt. Search where manufacturing costs or sending at least 50 or 100 years, been advising collectors. For example, Ms. Mack said there was good hunting in places of ferry routes between the ex-Hudson, where the remains of bottles thrown into the sea for a century or more.

The prevailing wind sites on land are the best, Mr. LaMotte reports in his book, and the best time to look is the first low tide after a storm.

“It’s frustrating, but it’s fun,” said Vickie Carter of Newark, Delaware, a volunteer at the meeting. She picked up the sea of glass like a kid in Montauk, Long Island, but when she took her husband that, more recently, the gains were limited. Today hunting Woodland Beach, Delaware, seeking what she calls “the perfect piece. – The perfect blue, red, perfect, perfect orange”

A perfect piece, he said, is smooth and completely frozen. When they find one, he said, “comes in a jar and keep looking.”

Carole Lambert, whose “Manual de Mar de Cristal Hunter” is his third on the subject, admits that his interest is felt, at times, “a little crazy -. Picking up trash from the beach”

. Ms. Lambert, a writer and editor who now lives in Islesboro, Me, searched for years in Rockport, Massachusetts, where they accumulate large amounts of small pieces of porcelain body – arms, legs, nose, face, “one ear as big as my thumb. “Eventually, he said, he learned that the remains were given a small doll in the 19 th century with the purchase of flour and other staples.

Why are there so many? Ms. Lambert found the answer in the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, in the form of a bill of lading on a vessel that sank, spilling boxes of small dolls.

As the sea glass harder to find people who want to work with him are creating their own pieces of glass falling on machines filled with sand or treating with muriatic acid or other corrosive substances.

“That’s one reason why they started the association,” said Ms. Beukes. “We started with people who say” the sea of glass “and that means something is artificially conditioning.” The real, said, “has been conditioned only by the sea and its elements. Has been a journey and has a history to it.”

Mr. LaMotte, whose book was packed display by collectors, said many had been asked to identify pieces of it could say “immediately” if not the real thing. “You get this high-gloss sheen, almost like a clear gloss,” he said.

On the other hand, occasionally a collector will come to a prize of the coast. One is Jean Hood, of Buffalo, who brought a bag full of small fragments that were found on the shore of Lake Erie and hoped Ms. Lambert was identified. The two puzzled by a piece of red glass, about two inches square, with a grid of regular blows – a running light lens of a ship, Ms. Lambert said.

As they chatted, Ms. Hood said that ordering is by the color, “all reds, oranges.”

“All oranges?” A jeweler from a nearby cabin listened.

“The rarest of color,” whispered Mrs. Lambert. Glassware orange sea can sell for hundreds of dollars.

If the association is firmly against making sea glass, there is less agreement on the “seeding” of the beaches with glass. While some collectors and participate in practice, Mr. LaMotte is obvious safety and environmental problems with putting broken glass on the beach. Anyway, Ms. Lambert said it could take 50 or 100 years for a piece of broken glass seeded on a beach to get the patina of glass from the sea. “Until then, it’s just garbage.”

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