A 19th-century stove that may have caused the devastating fire at Fairfield plantation in Gloucester County and a heavy howitzer used by the Imperial German Army during World War I — housed at a museum in Newport News and one of only 14 in existence — are among the nominees for Virginia's Top 10 Endangered Artifacts Program.
Two items from the Middle Peninsula, two from Newport News and one from Williamsburg are on the list of 36 nominees recently announced by the Virginia Association of Museums.
For the fourth year, the public can vote for their favorites and make donations to help preserve the items.
According to the association, the nominations are submitted by museums, archaeological groups and historical societies.
The Fairfield Foundation nominated the Excelsior Cook Blast Stove, dated 1883. Thane Harpole, an archaeologist with the foundation, said the stove was found during a dig at the plantation and was probably the only stove in the home. It was likely used by the last inhabitant of the plantation, which was believed to have been an African-American woman.
The Middle Peninsula Chapter of the Archaeological Society of Virginia nominated an 18th- or 19th-century log canoe found on the shore of the North River in Mathews County. Harpole, who is the chapter president, said the canoe was the dominant form of watercraft of its time and most have disappeared.
A 17th-century dugout canoe was nominated by the Mariners' Museum in Newport News. The museum has had items on the list twice previously. According to Jeanne Willoz-Egnor, director of collections management, the piece is extremely important to Virginia's history, showing both Indian and English influence. She said the piece also needs a lot of conservation work.
Also from Newport News, the Virginia War Museum nominated the German 21 cm Mörser Heavy Howitzer. The weapon weighs 16,644 pounds and has a barrel length of 14.5 feet. It is said to be capable of firing rounds more than six miles.
The last local nomination, a portrait of Robert Bolling, came from the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William and Mary. Bolling was married to Jane Rolfe, the granddaughter of John Rolfe and Pocahontas.
Voting takes place at www.vatop10artifacts.org. until Aug. 23.
The winners in Virginia's Top 10 Endangered Artifacts Program will be announced on Sept. 9.
Hubbard can be reached by phone at 757-298-5834
•Log Canoe, circa 18th- or early 19th-century, nominated by the Middle Peninsula Chapter of the Archaeological Society of Virginia — Mathews. "Though the date is uncertain, this partially preserved craft represents a type of vessel that was common through the mid-19th century and served as one of the main ways that people in Mathews County and surrounding areas traveled, fished, transported tobacco and other activities. Two major pieces of the canoe were recovered from an eroding shoreline, the bow/stern and a large board with large trunnels. Both pieces are sound, but are actively deteriorating."
•Excelsior Cook Blast Stove, 1883, nominated by the Fairfield Foundation in Gloucester. "While digging at Fairfield Plantation in Gloucester County, archaeologists discovered beneath fallen rubble (deposited between 1897 and the early 20th century) an 1883 Excelsior Cook Blast Stove, which was used by Fairfield Plantation's last known resident, an African-American woman who rented the manor house following the Civil War. The stove provides a glimpse into life in the postbellum American South."
•Portrait of Robert Bolling, (1646-1709), oil on canvas, nominated by Muscarelle Museum of Art in Williamsburg. "This portrait depicts Col. Robert Bolling, founder of the Bolling family, one of the 'First Families of Virginia,' where he became a wealthy landowner and an active participant in the political affairs of the colony. He arrived from England in October 1660 and in 1675 married Jane Rolfe, the granddaughter of John Rolfe and Pocahontas (born Matoaka)."
•Dugout Canoe, circa 1630, nominated by the Mariners' Museum in Newport News. "Found in Powhatan Creek, near Jamestown Island in 1963, this dugout canoe is a tangible symbol of the meeting of two cultures in Virginia in the early 17th century. This canoe shows the marks of both Powhatan and English technology."
•German 21 cm Mörser Heavy Howitzer, nominated by the Virginia War Museum in Newport News. "The 21 cm Mörser (German for 'mortar') was a heavy howitzer used by Germany in World War I. It was originally designed by the German firm, Krupp AG, which produced most of the artillery used by the Imperial German Army during World War I. Capable of firing 120 kg high-explosive or concrete-piercing rounds over six miles, it repeatedly demonstrated its impressive destructive power against Allied troops, including Virginia's famous 29th Division, during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of 1918."
Source: Virginia Association of Museums.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun