This week we held a behind the scenes tour for some of the attendees of TAM London, for which I cobbled together A History of the World in a handful of objects. Perhaps I should actually call it a History of the Earth, since my focus was on notable objects that represent key stages in the development of our understanding of our planet and the evolution of life upon it. One of the objects included was this:
Does anyone know what it might be?
As usual, put your questions, observations and questions in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to provide guidance during the day (without giving it away of course). Good luck!
Is it organic? It looks like rock, with crystals in it, but that might be the weird way I’m looking at the photo.
I was wondering whether it was a porous rock with algae in it.
It is rock, but it’s not porous. It’s not algae that makes it green.
Where is it from?
If I ask about stratigraphy will I get an answer, or would that make it too easy?
It’s from Quebec, but I’m not going to give you the stratigraphy, because it would make it way too easy.
Apparently everything in the Horniman collection is from Canada. It’s the oddest thing.
Is it from the Greville Supergroup? Perhaps CORRECT ANSWER?
It is a piece of purest green!
It looks a bit flinty, and it looks like it might have been worked. The green colour suggest some sort of copper content (it’s not malachite – a copper ore which is really green).
How about olivine?
Sort of, it’s derived from olivine, but has been altered in composition.
It is a hard rock, although not as brittle as flint. It has not been worked (unless you count a thwack with a geological hammer as working). It contains no copper.
Is it either an early weapon ( like an arrow/spear head) or an early piece of pottery?
It’s not been worked to fulfil a function (apart from the function of being a rock sample, obviously).
It looks like a scraper – for taking meat off skin
quite small maybe it was for skinning squirrels! usually scrapers are worked flint, but this deosn’t look like flint I’ve ever seen; and I would have thought quartz would be too soft a material for this tool function – I’m not great at geology though!
Perhaps the clue is its provenance – from a place where flint is scarce so they made this tool with the hardest local stone?
I like the stripes, very pretty!
having looked a bit closer – lookes like you could scrap with the bottom edge and cut with the top edge? its the first swiss army knife! prehistoric multi-functional tool?
I’m afraid not – it’s not been worked!
Is it a section through a stromatolite?
I was waiting for that suggestion, mostly so I could say “no” with a big grin on my face… I made that same mistaken identification when I first spotted it!
I do believe that I held that in my hands yesterday in The SCC. All I can remember is a vague bit about what it was initially thought to be.
You did indeed – thanks for not giving anything away! Hope you enjoyed the tour.
Today I did read the comments before chipping in … my first thought was, as others have said, that it was a scraper of some sort, but I thought it was a copper razor. There was a short Copper Age before they got to bronze, and that would have put it in the area of, er, can visualise it on the map, can’t remember name, middle of eastern Europe, Carpagia? but it’s not worked and it’s from Canada and it is significant in the history of the earth in some way …..
Is it a bit off a large meteorite? A meteorite thought to have brought precursors of organic material to Earth? Oo er
Not a bit off a meteorite, although I did have some meteorite out yesterday as it happens.
It’s green like olivine, but olivine usually shows up as inclusions and it cracks, it doesn’t wrinkle. Because this is bright green and scrunched, it’s probably serpentine. Since it’s from Quebec it’s probably from a spot where Europe and Canada where schmooshed together, from the original mid-Atlantic ridge before there was such a thing because there was no Atlantic Ocean yet. Around here we don’t find beautiful serpentine, but there’s serpentinite, which is dull green, and it doesn’t get wrinkled. I’d like to see where the serpentine looks like
that, if in fact that’s what it is.
Is it fuchsite? If it is, did you choose it because it sounds like a rude word?
Hi Jack – it’s not fuchsite, although part of the composition is from a related group.
Hmmmm does it begin with a ‘z’?
No, although there is a ‘z’ in the name…
Hmmm, are you implying that this object is boring? 😉