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May 21, 2008

Gold Toothpick-Earwax Spoon — 16th-Century Spanish Mashup Extraordinaire


Breaking news on NationalGeographic.com:

    Gold Toothpick-Earwax Spoon Found

    Divers searching for a shipwrecked Spanish galleon on Sunday brought back a solid gold find: a combination toothpick and earwax spoon [above].

    The 3-inch-long (7.6-centimeter-long) grooming tool dates back to the late 16th or early 17th century and was probably worn on a gold chain, experts said. It weighs only about an ounce (28 grams), but its value could exceed U.S. $100,000, Blue Water Ventures diver Chris Rackley told the Associated Press.

    Rackley found the object while hunting for the remains of the Santa Margarita, which sank in a violent 1622 hurricane about 40 miles (64 kilometers) off the coast of Key West, Florida.

    "We were on the trail on the Margarita site following the artifact scatter pattern to the north," Blue Water head archaeologist R. Duncan Mathewson told AP.

    "This is the furthest point on that trail where gold has ever been found before, so it confirms that we're on the right trail."

    Santa Margarita was part of Spain's Tierra Firme treasure fleet carrying goods between Europe and the New World. In addition to its 143 passengers and crew, the galleon sank carrying a wide array of coins, pearls, gold bars, and other treasures.

    Searches for the lost ship and its valuables have been ongoing since the 1980s. Last year Blue Water was part of a joint team that uncovered a major stash estimated to be worth more than two million dollars.

May 21, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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Here's where I learnt all my art (and Bible) history, Milena:


Posted by: Flautist | May 22, 2008 5:52:22 PM

I imagine Flautist that your lack of historical knowledge is just that, pure imagination. Had you been rich, you'd have had a set of wooden dentures made. Hey wait, I'm about two centuries too early on that one. Yeah, maybe three teeth at most then. Unless you were rich, in which case, a penchant for golden toothpicks would have serviced your remaining four.

Scrooge McDuck? Really? I myself am particular to History of the World Part I. Learned a ton from that one...

Posted by: Milena | May 22, 2008 4:05:21 PM

One of the things I most like to imagine is my knowledge of history.

(A result of study in the school of "Scrooge McDuck's Adventures and Tales", mostly.)

Posted by: Flautist | May 22, 2008 2:00:32 PM

If only I had Flautist's imagination and knowledge of history...

Posted by: Milena | May 22, 2008 3:28:56 AM

How do they know the non-pointy end was an earwax spoon, specifically? Couldn't it have been a nose-picking tool, cuticle pusher, beauty-spot applicator, snuff-dipping utensil? A doojigger for placing poison in the secret compartment of your ruby ring? Toothpick says that someone had enough teeth to pick between. Interesting. If I'd been a grown person in the 1500's I would probably have had three teeth, max.

Posted by: Flautist | May 21, 2008 4:30:20 PM

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