We found this metal block while digging in our yard.

It is 3x4x11 inches, very heavy (around 30 lbs), and shows rust.

Our property is in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Does anyone know what it is and its purpose?

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  • Who is the Party pooper ?
    – Alaska Man
    Jun 29, 2020 at 22:26
  • I remember reading about those houses made of iron bricks... They didn't last long, they sunk into the ground...
    – Gunner
    Jun 30, 2020 at 2:58

3 Answers 3


Steel barstock; My guess is some one picked it up where he works to use such as an anvil . It has little cash value so was abandoned when there was no more use or it did not do the job. I have had a few chunks like that , but what do you do with a pressure vessel nozzle cut-out 8" thick 12" diameter of chrome -moly steel ? They get very heavy . This reminds me , many decades ago I had a 4 ft long 18" diameter heavy wall pipe I was going to make into a lawn roller , but I left it behind the shed when I got divorced. Someone is wondering what that is.

  • Some type of an anvil was a guess of mine because I was told years ago someone kept ponies on our property when it was more rural. Thank you!
    – LGBee
    Jun 30, 2020 at 12:25

If you found it near the property line, it may be an informal survey marker showing the corner of your lot. Iron would be used so it can be found with a metal detector without digging.

Survey markers are usually rebar or metal pipe, but I've heard of bricks being used for this purpose too.

  • Thank you! I think you might be right. We found it years ago, but as I remember, we found it at the corner of the property lines, the one corner were we've had a problem finding the property corner marker--lol. Every other corner has rebar markers, so it never occured to us it was the corner marker. Yesterday I used it to weigh down a piece of poultry wire I was unrolling, and that's what peaked my curiosity about it again. Oh well, it at least it is useful as a weight if it no longer marks the property corner. Thanks again!
    – LGBee
    Jun 30, 2020 at 12:16

Could be an unprocessed iron ingot. How or why it was left in the dirt is anyone's guess.

According to https://www.aqua-calc.com/calculate/volume-to-weight a 3"x4"x11" block of iron should weigh about 37 pounds which is close to your claim.

  • Thank you! I had tried to figure out what kind of metal it was based on the volume and estimated weight (asked my husband what he guessed it weighed) and couldn't find a reference, so your source is much appreciated. Maybe I'll get a more precise weight and check out your source.
    – LGBee
    Jun 30, 2020 at 12:22
  • It is small for continuous strand steel , so unlikely to be "ingot". Jun 30, 2020 at 14:44
  • @blacksmith37 I think it's pretty clear that I'm not an expert. Just trying to kludge together an answer using familiar terminology (to me an ingot is just a hunk of metal) so that OP can move on with their life. I see you've provided a more refined answer so +1 for you :-)
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jun 30, 2020 at 14:54

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