That’s not a knife, THIS is a knife!

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As mentioned in our previous post, we’ve been spending quite a lot of time working in the turret the past few weeks! We’ve been taking a lot of photographs, to document how the conservation process is proceeding. We’ve also been doing some assessment for the future. But most importantly, we have been cleaning away the concretion (marine growth) and mud that is trapped in the rails.

Lesley and Laurie working in the turret

Some of you may remember that when the USS Monitor sank, it turned upside-down. The turret is still upside-down as that is the most stable position for it to be in at the moment. Which means that in the picture above, Lesley and I are actually standing on the turret’s ceiling! The ceiling was constructed out of railroad tracks, which means there’s plenty of nooks and crevasses for concretion and corrosion to build up. AND there’s plenty of places for objects to hide!

A knife hidden in the rails!

While removing the concretion from the rails, a knife with a wooden handle was discovered!

A detail of the knife

The knife was excavated using small hand tools, and is largely intact. You can see in the image below that most of the blade and all of the handle still survive. Now the knife can be treated on its own and will be a fantastic addition to the USS Monitor collection.

Knife after excavation

Stay tuned for more updates from team Monitor!

8 thoughts on “That’s not a knife, THIS is a knife!”

  1. Nice to see some artifacts are still being found in the turret.

    Speaking of the railroad track roof, I wanted to ask what those two holes are in the ceiling, one in the foreground, and another just like it further away. [Are there others?]

    Thanks for the fascinating reports!

    1. Those two holes may have been used as part of an exhaust system, in conjunction with flexible tubing, for the USS Monitor’s guns. This system to remove gun smoke and fumes from the turret is mentioned in a period document. However, we did not find any such tubing in the turret, so maybe the holes were not used for exhaust after all, or maybe the exhaust system wasn’t in place before the sinking. It’s one of the many challenges that comes with studying a historical object that was constantly in use. (Of course, that’s also part of what makes it fun.)
      If we find out any other details on this topic I’ll be sure to let you know!
      Thank you for your interest and questions!

    1. That is certainly true! I’m glad that it will be seeing the light of day (and this blog) as conservation continues. Thank you for your interest!

        1. There have actually been a number of spoons recovered from the turret, but I’m assuming you mean the one that is linked to in this post. The knife and spoon are not at all similar in style. The spoon, like the majority of spoons recovered from the turret, is silvered with scroll decoration. The knife I found has an iron blade with a wood or bone handle. While it is difficult to see through the corrosion and sediment, it is a more simple design with minimal decoration.
          Thank you for your interest! I hope this answers your question!

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