As a professional historian and curator, I'm often asked to examine artifacts that people find in their closets, attics, backyards, and elsewhere.
Here I show one of these objets trouvés (that's a fancy French phrase for "found objects"). My neighbor uncovered it in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana — known in "the old days" as Pont Breaux — in the mud along Bayou Teche.
|Agnus Dei object found on banks of Bayou Teche.
It's a metal object measuring 3/8 x 1 15/16 x 2.25 inches (5 x 49 x 56 mm) and apparently made of pewter or lead. While it looks old, I cannot be sure of its age. If I had to guess, I would say it's from the period circa 1750 to 1900. I assign a starting date of 1750 because it was around that time that the first Europeans came to the area.
And they came via the Teche, which early explorers used to travel deep into the semitropical south Louisiana frontier. For the next two hundred years residents of Attakapas (south-central Louisiana) used the Teche as a primary means of transportation, rowing and then steaming along its 130-mile path until railroads and highways all but killed off commercial river traffic. Today the Teche is used mainly by pleasure boaters, but occasionally tugboats still push barges laden with limestone or who-knows-what up the twisting waterway.
For comparison, another Agnus Dei with aureole.
|Another Agnus Dei example.
|Yet another Agnus Dei image.