Well, Kyle &
I got back to my older brother's backyard for a bit of a dig (7 1/2
hours worth) on the 21st there. It felt so incredibly good to be getting
out again, and I had been looking forward to the dig all week.
girlfriend decided to tag along this time for part of the day, though
drifted off to sleep a few times - apparently either not interested by
was going on to a great degree, or really just very tired, more than
the former. This is probably because she wasn't there for the good
We arrived at his house around 9:00, and after unloading our stuff, set
work (or play!). I had a really good feeling about the area we had dug
time. We had left off having unearthed a seriously large (6 by 10 foot)
square yellow brick wall, only about two bricks deep, and set about 4"
the ground. We were confused as to what the short, crudely made wall
but we were going to dig to find out. I had made it my ambition to dig
corner closest to the house, and had several promising dreams about it
nights before! Of course, I was soon to find out the thing about dreams
they often-times turn out to be just plain not real. I dug that sucker
about 5'. It was obvious I was in some kind of privy, as the white
material continued to come out, even at that depth. But I bottomed out
virgin clay about 5' down. Nothing there. That was disappointing.
however, was working on the other side of an old tree stump, and had
been slowly working his way down through the roots. There were a LOT of
roots. The tree stump was not entirely dead, you see, and had branches
shooting off of it. The roots were thick and difficult to work with. The
limited space of a narrow hole made using the cutters we had brought
impossible. Kyle managed, though, and as I was filling my hole in, he
starting to find interesting stuff. About 2 feet down, he continued to
out chunks of porcelain plates, and small bottle chunks. I told Kyle he
a trooper for not giving up on the hole, with all those roots. Upon
into the bottom of the hole, he said, he could feel something deeper
He had a good feeling about that hole. So he kept to it. Chunks of plate
teacup kept coming out about 3 feet down, and the ground softened up.
raised a brow. I jumped into the hole for a quick turn, and could feel
something with the shovel. Digging it out, it turned out to be a
lamp base. Broken into two pieces, but all there.
About an hour later, after we had come back from lunch, and my
had left for home, we returned to the site. It was my turn to dig, so I
jumped into the hole, and narrowly missed landing on what looking like a
lightning rod ball. it had fallen out of the tree roots while we were
for lunch! I picked it up. Kyle grabbed it and proclaimed that it was the
globe from the lamp. Sure enough, it fit perfectly on the base.
nothing much, my turn was up, and Kyle jumped in. He was in the hole
for scarce 5 minutes, and I was crawling around trying to sort through
debris which had come out, including a tea cup which Kyle noticed had a
of 1869 on the base. From the hole came a muffled cry, "Oh my God, Dude,
whole bottle!". He got my attention. I swung around to look, and spotted
holding a tall, ring-necked medicinal! We were ecstatic! Kyle soiled
again, and we were both extremely happy to have seen the first intact
of the day! After 4.5 hours! Only minutes after, a three piece mould
medicinal popped out, and then, what I thought was a wax-seal preserve
but with the very base missing. I demanded that it was my turn again!
reluctantly gave in, and I hopped in. Probing with the shovel again, I
something that looking intact. After gently freeing the item, a
cream pitcher came out of the ground. The handled was missing, and a
had been broken out of the bottom, but other than that, the entire thing
there. So, after digging an additional few seconds towards the back of
lot, a small, pontiled (!) medicinal came out, along with another three
piece mould, and a small, unembossed medicinal. All the while, a pitch
was required, as the shovel was impossible to put in the ground, there
too many broken (and intact!) bottles and pottery pieces!
dug, and unearthed a broken medicinal embossed on the base "St. L",
Kyle was looking at the preserve jar we found earlier, and noticed that
had embossing. He read it off slowly, as it was somewhat weak, and the
was very sick. "Hamilton Glass Works", he said. "Aren't those worth a
bunch?" I said. "Yeah." came the reply. We weren't happy that it was
So, having unearthed so much porcelain and glass that my head was
I backed out and Kyle claimed his territory (having discovered the
Almost right away, he pulled out a small, unembossed medicinal, and hit
something massive with the shovel. "Oh my God, Dude, it's huge!" He
turned out to be a gigantic porcelain washstand pitcher with the very
and handle broken off. He pulled out a broken "JAMES MILLS, ST. CATHERINES, ONT." bottle, which made us weep, and then he was up.
out, and I was in. After a few seconds, I decided to use the pitch
fork, as too many large plate chunks were coming out. One probe, and 3
bottles fell out of the wall, one broken, one of them being another
unembossed medicinal, and the last being another of those small bottles
what the hell. While this was going on, Kyle had realized that, from the
shards, he could assemble part of a second (!) HAMILTON GLASS WORKS No.2
atmospheric preserve jar. Why were they both broken!?!?
After I dug several broken wine bottles, Kyle was in, but only found
more broken wine bottles and pottery chunks. I took one more shot at it,
found the smallest sized three piece mould yet, this one with the cork
was it. An excellent day for us, as we're still ecstatic about
finally finding older stuff! At this point, I'm still sorting through
the stuff we dug out. We filled a large cardboard box with shards and
pieces. We were able to reassemble some of the stuff, such as a pontiled
wine glass, and I have about 98% of a bennington ware chamber pot. It's
being reassembled. Kyle & I also ascertained, once home, that we had
actually dug a third (!) Hamilton preserve jar, but only very small
were present, only enough to see the embossing. This makes us think
must be another trash pit or something around.
BTW, in case you're wondering about the terrible condition we left
the yard in... it was like that when we started. My brother doesn't like
lawn much, I guess.
Best of luck, all! We're still going back to mangle his lawn even more!
II - A SECOND-TIME PRIVY-DIGGING ADVENTURE! © COPYRIGHT BARRETT NICPON