Monday, January 20, 2014

Digging News!

Hi Rick,
 My phone is not transferring photos to my photo library on my computer so I was hoping that I could ask you to post this little story for me included in this email and I will send you the photos.
Cramped Quarters
 “The west has been plagued by freezing temperatures but little if any actual precipitation this Winter. Usually I have a dozen holes dug by this point, but this weekend marked the first opportunity I have had to get out and find some glass. Yesterday, January 19th was my 51st birthday and what better way to spend the day than getting out with my son and knocking on some doors? Drew is a college student and sleeps until 11 AM on most days, Yesterday, he was to meet me at 11:00 am which is pretty late in the day to begin a digging adventure. At 11:15 he finally showed up and we were on the road to seek permission at a house which was built in 1865 and was a commercial property until about 1910 when it became a primary residence. The house has not been dug as the previous owner had denied permission to explore the lot for decades. I knocked, gave my dog and pony show, and we were in!
I have studied the Sanborns and photos of this lot and the actual lot lines are inconsistent to the lines today, and Drew and I began systematically probing the yard. Drew is a novice at probing so I was in constant communication with him for any signs of an outhouse. He worked the back line, and I was focused on the side yard. I probed what felt like an intact bottle at 3 1/2 feet and backed off the probe feeling this was a spot worth investigating. Of course the pit was between a full hot tub and a fence…wonderful, the 13” of room we had to dig was not ideal, and there was virtually no place to throw dirt, but thought it would be worth a try. The hole “felt” early as it was sparse, and not full of rust or ash…these holes usually indicate an early pit in my experience, but I did not know if it was 1850s, or 1920s at this point.
We took turns in the extremely cramped quarters trying our best to open up the hole. Very little sign emerged and though I was confident it was indeed a pit, the going was very slow. At the 30” level Drew said he was working on a bottle, and I was anxious to see what it was. I was happy to see him extract a beautiful light lime green 1860s snuff! This was a good start, and soon he was working on a stack of early 1860s flared lip, flat base medical cylinders. While not embossed, they indicated this hole had some decent age. He next pulled out an olive amber pontil era utility, and a black glass polish. It was my turn to root around, and I extracted a gorgeous monster top Pratts Abolition Oil, and another example with the neck broken. After clearing the hole to go to the next layer, I felt a “clunk” with my paddle, and was happy to find a monster top, whittled, and pontiled Dr. Jayne’s Alterative. A super nice early medicine.
Then a broken in half Drakes Plantation Bitters, and then another one. Several early eastern meds, and then something western and pretty revealed itself. I could tell it was another nice western medicine, but could not tell exactly what it was or if it was intact. After carefully working it out of the compacted clay, I was thrilled to be holding a deep colored Dr. Perry’s Last Chance Liniment. Not just any Perry’s,  and in mint condition. So far this had been a great birthday with my son, and being in an early hole with some nice glass just made this day about as good as it gets for me. I did not think it could get any better…........
 I will fill everyone in on the rest of the hole in part 2!


  1. DM,
    Thanks for the digging report and congrats on your early medicine dig. The Pratt's Abolition, Dr. D Jaynes,, the Perry's Last Chance and a Drakes appear to reveal the user of this privy wasn't feeling up to snuff. Pun intended....
    Great dig!

  2. Fun dig ! Weird how the 60's bottles were up higher than the 70's bottles ??

  3. AP the 60s stuff was actually below the 70s glass. Due to the extremely cramped situation, we had to dig this one by taking the hole down in thin sections before opening it wider at 3 feet. The layers were covered more side to side in an ass backwards fashion. We needed to be contortionists to dig this one and at 40 inches or so it was total 60s, mostly late 60s...the Jayne's is the only pontiled piece recovered...HMMM...wonder what western glass is late 60s? DM

  4. Well, I know how those "slip-trench" access holes can literally be a pain in the ass, but it had to be a blast to get some early western glass on your Birthday !!

  5. Work that's done, and the prize that's won -
    Nice going Dale

  6. man oh Man, what a great dig! Cant wait to see the rest.

    Matt L.