Did you ever find anything interesting buried in your yard?

javaandjazz(z6 CT)May 26, 2009

Over the years whenever I have dug up the soil for a new garden I almost always find something special. I have mostly found clay marbles and pieces of pottery and once an old "golden weddin" whiskey bottle that I think helped build the front porch in one of its incarnations. This past weekend I was digging for the new garden in back of the garage and thought I hit on just another rock. But then digging around it I found it to be smooth and then I saw drill marks in it. It turned out to be a piece of granite and I think part of the original back stairs of my downstairs apartment. It is the size of about half a length of a stair. I got really excited over the "rock" too! LOL. Now I want to dig around more back there and see if I can find all of them! Richie

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Well, Richie I once found one of those metal markers that are inserted in boxes or urns of ashes. Apparently someone is "scattered" in my yard. I also found a very heavy and old silver chain (marked sterling) in the same vicinity. /Abi

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 5:32PM
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PaigeCT (I think that's her name) who used to visit this forum had a really cool find a few years ago. I'm going to have to search the threads and find it, but I think she found a gravestone? Or something?

I've never found anything of interest beyond a chard of pottery here and there.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 5:41PM
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javaandjazz(z6 CT)

Abi, Looks like you may have someone else helping you in the garden! Richie

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 5:49PM
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I found nothing special in my garden, except maybe UNOPENED can of Bud from 60's-70's, but...
...I'm sure the next digger(s) might be intrigued by finding in dirt couple of the early XXI century cordless phones and at least one cell phone :-((

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 11:56PM
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Just glass milk bottles from the cow farm that use to be down the street years ago.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 6:19AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

LOL, George! Yes, I remember someone finding the gravestone too. I think she was replacing a pathway and found that one of the stones was a headstone! She related her attempts to track down the person, and it was very interesting.

Of course, I've found the obligatory green toy soldier. I think everyone has. Marbles, a few utensils here and there. Way in the back of my property I believe they used the area as a dump (sad!) and I've found tiles and construction debris.

However, I did find an old, intact football helmet buried in the dirt. It has the name "Dale Cargill" printed on the side, and I tried to find out who he was, but not much luck. I think he was a pro, but only playing a few games, or perhaps a college stand-out if not a pro. Anyway, it looks like I'm not sitting on any spectacular "Antiques Roadshow" find, so for now the helmet sits in a closet.

Unfortunately, my house is not old enough to find anything really exciting (says the wanna-be archaeologist!)


    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 7:48AM
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Good grief . . . what haven't I found! I live in an old farmhouse and the usual tradition was to have an on-site dump, but we actually had a couple large and innumerable small ones. It took about 4 years of clean-up before my husband could mow the back field without hitting half-buried piles of discarded cans and bottles. In the woods at the top of the river bank, buried in old leaves (and unfortunately poison ivy which limits my exploration or clean-up) is a huge collection of old bottles and jars, as well as household and farm implements. Where the old barn fell in 50 years ago next to the house was the more recent large dump, which was excavated and largely removed (we filled an entire dumpster!), though we kept some fun items like the old glass milk bottles and some glass-topped canning jars and some of the old wrought iron hinges, etc. I have a window sill in the kitchen with finds such as old glass whiskey & ink bottles. But my favorite find was the brass harness bell that turned up one spring in the vegetable garden from when they plowed with horses. We also have the brass parts of half an old harness. Another type of item that turns up most years when I plant the veggie garden is old cow bones. They must be one of the slowest organic items to decompose! My husband found one stone with some letters chiseled into it, but it wasn't complete, so I doubt it was ever a gravestone.

We also have found items in the manure we got from a neighbor, largely items that her dogs buried in the pile, ranging from a horse bit to small plastic toys from her grandkids!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 8:48AM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

George do you ever hear a faint ring in your ears while you are gardening? LOL
I have a huge WWII garbage pile/berm in the middle of my front property it is filled with navy flatware, dishes, and bottles. Down the road the Navy built a large bunker with a train track like moving target for soldiers to practice on this was in the sandplain near the beach, with erosion that bunker is now underwater. A few doors down my senior neighbor use to tell me stories about the soldiers using their horse barn with radar equipment listening for enemy invaders. When I first started landscaping this property twenty years ago I couldn't dig into the berm/garbage pile at all, but now after leaf waste from the woods as well as front yard waste decomposing the soil is wonderful and I was able to plant it with numerous shrubs this past fall.
During peace time this property was used as a slaughter house when we started building there were cow skulls everywhere and now I still occasionally dig up some bones..kind of creepy but I think of it in terms of good bone meal.
Funny how the use of land changes over the years I wonder what my property will be used for and look like 75 - 100 years from now?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 9:34AM
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The only interesting thing I've found was a little 1950's cobalt blue glass bottle from an antacid. But a couple of years ago we had a crumbling old cinderblock retaining wall replaced with nice stone, and now when I dig in the bed next to it I'm constantly finding broken pieces of masonry, gravel, stones, etc. that the workmen buried. Grrrr! So word to the wise, if you have masonry work done make sure they *remove* all the debris instead of burying it.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 11:02AM
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Hey, Katy, I was thinking of you as I read through this thread; not because of your berm but because of all the interesting stuff your dog has buried in your garden. I seem to recall some interesting photos of neighbors' toys, maybe just a leg here or an arm there, sticking out of the mulch between shrubs.

I've just found a lot of old toys, which was kind of fun in the early years because an old friend used to play here when he was a kid. I always assume the toy soldiers were his, although he never claims any of them.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 9:05PM
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gardenbear1(6 Ma.)

in the 6 years that I've been in my 1923 home I've found car parts and tools, the best find was a doll or what was left of it, on the back was a part of a name painted on it abby I know the doll is old and from what I could find out the family that lived here back in the 20's had a little girl but no one remembers her name or much about the family,I still hope to find out more about this family and see if there was a girl and how the doll got buried, I keep whats left of the doll in a glass case in my front hall
I think its great that some of us can find things from the past


    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 10:40PM
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When I was little I wanted to be a paleontologist so I dug random holes on our 10 acres in Nebraska. I ended up finding fossils from the ocean that covered the midwest, an axe and a femur. Turned out, there was an indian settlement on top of the hill and an indian graveyard, too. Weird.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 10:02AM
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spedigrees z4VT

This is a fascinating thread! I would love to find something really interesting buried on our land, but alas, only occasional broken bits of pottery. Perhaps I should bury a curiousity or two for a future generation to dig up?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 11:59AM
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I wouldn't be surprised by anything I found on this property. The house was built in 1940 and the owner, and then his son who we bought it from when he retired, were, um, characters.

There's a family room addition to the original house, and when we dug out the foundation for an adjacent porch, we found a couple of old metal tulip-style chairs patio chairs -- the ones that bounce, you know? Nowadays you pay top dollar for them at antique stores! Apparently when they dug the foundation for the family, they used the hole as a dump! Too bad the chairs were all mashed -- we just dumped them back into the hole when we backfilled!

We've often found square-headed, hand-made nails out in the middle of the yard. The property was a farm before it was a house in a neighborhood. We can kind of figure out where the farm buildings were based on where we find the nails.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 3:55PM
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I found an intact basketball hoop in my backyard, in addition to lots and lots of old pavement chunks--probably from some road construction debris.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 9:49AM
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My property was woods and never even farmed--just cut over for the wood a number of times thru the centuries. I am jealous of all of your interesting finds. Maybe I'll have to bury something fascinating for future owners.

But did you see what someone in Truro found? The Globe this week said a man in Truro found an English coin over 300 years old, older than the town itself. Evidently his house is near the original meetinghouse and the experts said the coin could only have belonged to one of two men in town. Interesting article.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 3:29PM
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Alice Johannen

Here at our place I found a large old glass bottle, but more interesting is what my mother found at my folks' place on Martha's Vineyard. She was digging up a new bed and found a strange metal blob with wings on it. She tossed it over to my dad who declared, dear God, that it was an unexploded bomb! Gaaaaahhh! Yes, they used to use the islands for bombing practice and there's an air force base on the Cape. So ... pretty good it was a dud because otherwise my dad would be looking down on us from on high right now. Police were called and no one wanted to touch the thing. LOL Who could blame them?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 10:28AM
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Our MA backyard was a treasure trove. The rear high land tapered off to a 20 acre swamp, pock marked with depressed areas that had been excavated before the Revolutionary War. Here lay white clay banks so pure that the much desired clay was dug and sent to England for the making of fine porcelain dishes. Then the dug areas became garbarge dumps. Our four kids spent endless hours digging in these water filled holes, recovering 100's of bottles that dated through the centuries. Some they sold to collectors. Others we have kept.

Also, a section of that swamp has a deep bed of peat which is very rich in iron. It, too, was dug, the iron extracted for the making of cannon balls during the Revolution. The property had always been a farm so we were forever digging up farm implements.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 2:59PM
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I too have found some clay pottery pieces digging in the backyard for a garden bed.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 8:21AM
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I once found an 1813 once cent piece in our vegetable garden in a row we had tilled & dug in for years.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 2:52PM
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    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 9:18PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Any clues about Jimmy Hoffa?
I've found some old bottles, but I think they used to burn trash years ago and probably buried the ashes every so often.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 12:57PM
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carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)

In our 1888 newton MA Victorian backyard, we found a large boulder evidently chiseled to make a tombstone: "Teddy - Our feller". We think it must've been their dog, back in the 1930's. Never found bones, though. We were making a dry stone wall and so we set the tombstone in the wall's front.

Now we live at the site of a 1900's cattle slaughterhouse near Porter Square in Cambridge (ever hear of the Porter House Hotel? The porterhouse steak was named after it) and keep thinking we'll find cow skulls, but no such luck.

Our RI place was a farm pasture before 1940, but all we find there are old worthless bottles.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 1:22PM
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javaandjazz(z6 CT)

Last year I was digging for a new bed in back of the garage and found what I thought was a huge rock. It turned it to be what I think is a piece of the old granite back stairs into my downstairs apartment. I thought it was a great find so I dug it up and buried it at ground level in front of the entrance to the cellar.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 4:42PM
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A farm in the 1830's. 1 a froe and draw knife ( no wood left at the corner of a rock wall. 2 a cider grinder and press in a foundation for a shed not shown in a 1930's topo map. I made new handles for the froe and draw knife and built all new wood for the cider press. Now when I hit the froe with an Iron wood cudgle or turn the crank on the press, I think back to when wages weren't paid by the hour but by what you did.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 1:48PM
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Our house was built around 1811. Found an 1825 coin, a dozen marbles, including clay ones, broken bottles, a head of a 'dutch' doll and body of a small one. Cow bones, and in another site many car parts. Doll dish spoons, more pottery pieces than can be counted.

Someday someone will dig up my trowels, glasses and gardening knives.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 11:39PM
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