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Lost and Found

Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2008, at 5:27 PM

Being interested in Archaeology, there was a 40 year period of my life that I spent a lot of time digging holes in the ground. In most cases I have been able to identify the items I dug up, however, I have not been able to identify the two stones pictured above.

Each of these stones is a gray-green color, and is what we commonly refer to as soapstone. Each stone is exactly nine inches square, 1-1/2 inch thick and weighs eleven pounds. Each stone has twelve holes drilled all the way through, but not tapered. The three holes at the top are 3/16 inch in diameter, the next three are 1/4 inch. The first row of holes at the bottom are 5/16 and the next three are 3/8 in.

The fact that the holes in these stones are not tapered would rule out the probability of being prehistoric.

There was no other material found with these stones, which would indicate that they were not part of a trash dump. They were found about 40 feet from an abandoned railroad line, eight feet apart and only ten inches below the surface.

Would you like to hazard a guess as to what these stones were designed, and made for?

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I would say support for the posts of a railroad water tower.

-- Posted by Gemini on Tue, Nov 18, 2008, at 11:34 PM

Paul, they certainly have the appearance of being some sort of gusset plate, but I increased the magnification 2,000%, and there is no sign of any marking around the holes. And it is hard to imagine anyone using stone to make a gusset plate. The holes don't perfectly match between the two plates, but they are close. Definitely a brain teaser!

-- Posted by FJGuy on Wed, Nov 19, 2008, at 7:56 PM

FJGuy, - I agree with you that it is hard to imagine that anyone would use these stones for as a gusset plate, as steel would have been stronger and easier to form.

Some have suggested that these item were, necessarly made of stone, and used as a nonconductor of an electric currernt.

Since these stones are so nearly identical it would be easy to believe that they were used as a "Pair", but a pair of what?

Does anyone else have any suggestions, or an idea as to what these stones were used for.

-- Posted by paulcorbin on Thu, Nov 20, 2008, at 9:44 AM

Got me stumped!

-- Posted by greer958 on Fri, Nov 21, 2008, at 2:41 PM

A true mystery, as I live and breathe!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Nov 24, 2008, at 6:26 AM

From searching the web they might be gusset plates. Was the railroad track near a bridge by chance? I was thinking insulators, wouldn't have guessed stone, I've seen glass. Very interesting though. Hope someone has the answers. Would like to know.

-- Posted by Michel on Mon, Dec 22, 2008, at 2:53 PM

Mr. Corbin, Those stones may have been part of an assembly used for the purposes of grinding track, smoothing welds and cleaning switch areas. They would have had abrasive carborundum rocks bolted onto them in various sizes, and were pulled along and across the rail stock to clean and define any defects in the rails for the section master to see, so he could get the crew out to fix them ASAP!! Just a thought from an old Cotton Belt kid!!...Regards.....kk

-- Posted by kkcaver47 on Sat, Feb 21, 2009, at 2:04 AM

Mr. Corbin, Just another passing thought on those two soap stone slabs you found....some of the old lumber locomotives had fireboxes that had two, sliding doors, that were made from several materials, iron, fire-brick, ???stone??, and mica for visibility...could these be parts from an old fire-box door on an old lumber line engine...Just ponderin'???....kk

-- Posted by kkcaver47 on Sat, Feb 28, 2009, at 7:45 PM

Mr. Corbin, You graduated high school the same year as my Dad, he was at Bernie, you were at Zalma, he had three blocks to walk, and you had to be a Voertrekker to go to school....what stories I can hear in my reveries!!!!!...I'm looking for answers to your "canning jar" puzzles, so please let us know how you are doing, as we look forward to your presence on the blogs...as I have walked a few miles staring at the ground for that point, lith or shard..Best Regards, Mr. Paul.....kk

-- Posted by kkcaver47 on Tue, Mar 3, 2009, at 1:17 AM

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Bunyan Tales
Paul Corbin
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Paul Corbin is a 100-year-old historian, humorist, and amateur archaeologist from Advance, Mo. He grew up in the Greenbrier area west of Advance, where he attended Stepp School on the banks of Cato Slough and the Castor River, important waterways throughout his life. In an age when many area residents did not go to high school, the young Corbin made the decision to walk the five miles to Zalma, graduating in 1933. Throughout his life, he was an enterprising businessman, selling Watkins products from house to house throughout a large area - and later opening a variety store in Advance. He and his wife Geneva traveled throughout the United States, even following the route that the Lewis and Clark expedition traveled. His knowledge of Native American culture is extensive, and he has donated a sizeable collection of his artifacts to the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center and the Bollinger County Museum of Natural History in Marble Hill. Throughout the years, he has submitted articles to TBY, the North Stoddard Countian, the Ozark Mountaineer, and several other Missouri publications. He has also written two books - "Reflections in Missouri Mud," and "Fragments of my Feeble Mind." The first one is out of print.
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