Officials from the city of Boston’s archaeology program recently identified a mysterious object that was unearthed from the ground at the Paul Revere House property in the North End.
The artifact was excavated by archaeologists in 2010 at Lathrop Place, which was once part of Revere’s backyard.
On Feb. 23 the city’s archaeology program posted photos of the object on social media and asked for the public’s help in identifying it.
“It’s irregular notching between the teeth give us possible gear (clocks? locks?) or plumbing hardware vibes,” officials wrote in the post. “Anyone know what this may be?”
Many people who saw the post on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook weighed in.
One person on Facebook wrote that it was a “grommet from a tarp or sail.” A person on Twitter suggested it was an auto part. “I believe it’s a gear,” another Twitter user wrote. Someone else guessed it was “some kind of ring key.”
But the answer turned out to be something entirely different.
Several people suggested that it was part of a parasol or umbrella, and they turned out to be right.
Officials from the archaeology program soon posted an update to announce the news that the relic was, in fact, a parasol runner, which is the round piece that moves up and down the pole of the parasol as you open and close it.
“Update: object identified!” the post said. “This is a parasol runner.”
Thanks to crowd-sourcing, it only took about a half an hour to solve the mystery.
(1/2) A mystery artifact for Tuesday morning! This lead object was excavated by archaeologists on the Paul Revere House property. It’s irregular notching between the teeth give us possible gear (clocks? locks?) or plumbing hardware vibes. Anyone know what this may be? pic.twitter.com/sPkzcCw7S6— Boston Archaeology (@BostonArchaeo) February 23, 2021