Nail chronology as an aid to dating old buildings

However, because the shape of nails has not particularly evolved since the 1830s and because the nails are fairly rusted, it is difficult to determine a more exact time period for when these nails were manufactured.A guide to nail chronology produced by the National Parks Service suggests that decorative details — such as the ruts on the side of the nails and the pattern on the top of the nail — are necessary to distinguish modern machine-cut nails from modern wire nails.Nails can be a valuable asset in dating construction and in dating modifications to buildings.The evidence of handforged nails is usually recognized, but distinctions between manufactured nails can be equally valuable clues.For this trench, context 1 entailed the surface layer of soil and grasses, and context 2 was defined as the layer of soil below the surface.Context 2’s soil was dark, damp, and rich soil, and excavation of the context revealed no further stratigraphy.The feature is a segment of a building’s foundation.

The accompanying illustrations show the heads and body types of the nails. These nails were basically of two lengths, nominally 4 inches and 2 1/2 to 3 inches.

(, American Association for State and Local History, Technical Leaflet 48, 1968.) Nelson's pamphlet describes the nail-making process in detail and gives references for further reading.

Recognizing developments in nail manufacturing methods allows a researcher to determine, in some cases, the earliest possible date for erection of a building.

These details are obscured by the rust and wear of the building items.

This feature, a buried block of concrete and wood fragments discovered at a depth of 6 inches, indicates the location of one of the village’s buildings.

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Through metallographic analysis by means of Light Microscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), and chemical composition determination by Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectrometry (EDS) it was possible to identify compositions and microstructures different from those of artefacts of similar kind found in shipwrecks of the same period.

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