[meteorite-list] The Relic and Some Images

From: JKGwilliam <h3chondrite_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Fri Oct 29 12:02:01 2004
Message-ID: <>

Adam & Mark,
Thanks to Adam for posting the pictures of this very unusual piece. I know
absolutely nothing about African artifacts, but I did notice one thing that
might be of interest. The first thing I thought of when I saw the top view
of this item was that it had some similarities to a "poison cup" which was
a popular item among the wealthy people of the 17th Century, especially the
Spanish. Basically, a poison cup had a small cage or a threaded post in
the bottom of it which held a "bezoar stone." The bezoar stone, which is a
gall stone made of hair and calcium deposits and found in the digestive
tracts of ruminating animals, was thought to absorb poison from wine and
other drinks.

One such poison cup was found at the wreck site of the Spanish ship
"Atoche" which I know Adam is familiar with.

Could it be that 17th century Africans saw one of these cups in the
possession of Spanish explorers and tried to duplicate it?

For more information about bezoars, poison cups and their us in 17th
century Europe, go to this website.


At 06:00 AM 10/29/2004, mark ford wrote:

>Thanks for showing us the African meteorite object, very interesting!
>My immediate thought was that the iron work is made by someone with
>considerable skill in metal working, and for a tribe the 1700's in south
>Africa that would be some feat. Since many of the techniques were
>imported. So perhaps it is later than the date you where given, nice
>object though!
>You have to wonder at the thought process about using an Iron meteorite
>to hold down another meteorite .... Doh! - Have you nickel tested the
>iron pieces?
>Thanks for sharing it with us.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Adam Hupe [mailto:raremeteorites_at_comcast.net]
>Sent: 29 October 2004 01:14
>To: meteorite-list_at_meteoritecentral.com
>Subject: [meteorite-list] The Relic and Some Images
>Dear List Members,
>I have a few questions that some of you may be able to answer. First
>off, I
>purchased this relic about seven years ago from a person who deals in
>African artifacts. I was told the following:
>It came from a South African tribe who fashioned it in the 1700s.
>Natives witnessed a fireball, saw a "thunderstone" hit the ground and
>this vessel for it.
>They carved the main part of this relic out of wood and hand hammered
>the iron accessories using possible pieces of an iron meteorite
>Since this stone was witnessed to have came from the sky they anchored
>using two wrought iron or meteoritic iron straps so that it would not
>They depicted the fireball event by portraying the bolide using splayed
>metal spikes run through nuts.
>It was used for ceremonies by the tribal shaman who claimed it had the
>powerful magic the tribe had ever experienced but the stone was not
>time to recharge itself because it was called upon too many times to
>its magic. It has a wrought iron chain and places where feathers could
>attached so I do believe it was used for ceremonies. Here are some
>Side view:
>Another side view:
>Top view showing trapped meteorite?:
>Close-up of suspected meteorite:
>Bottom view showing wrought iron work:
>Close-up of tribal artisan's conception of fireball:
>Another Close-up:
>I do not know anything about African artifacts so if anybody knows
>about this piece or similar examples I would like to hear about it. It
>look like an achondrite with the crust worn off in areas from being
>so many times. I am sure it is a genuine relic and would like to
>authenticate the meteorite but do not want to damage it in anyway by
>to pry the stone out. I do not believe in superstition but for some
>I cannot draw myself to remove the stone and have it examined. This
>represent a very old witnessed fall so any advice would be appreciated.
>All the best.
>Adam Hupe
>The Hupe Collection
>Team LunarRock
>IMCA 2185
>Meteorite-list mailing list
>Meteorite-list mailing list
Received on Fri 29 Oct 2004 12:07:20 PM PDT

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