Interesting Objects Found While Digging

bloomville(z4 NY)April 22, 2005

While digging in my garden, I have found dog licenses from the 1920s and 1930s; pieces of milk bottles with text and wonderful painted images, a cast iron toy scottish terrier, a cast iron bird toy, an absolutely wonderful old hoe, and pieces of glass and ceramic of all colors and styles. Curious as to the treasures others have encountered while working in their upstate NY gardens.

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kareen(z5 NY Renss.Co.)

Yesterday I found a piece of rose colored slate that was larger than the usual . It was in an area that I know was grazing for sheep and cows. It definately peaked my curiosity because it isn't indigenous to the area it was found in. Also some very old fence posts with lots of moss on them but no treasures like the ones you listed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our pond and gardens

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 8:03PM
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robbiezone5(z5 HudsonValley)

we find _lots_ of things. mostly old nails -- i like the way they look, all rusted and deteriorated. also, pieces of broken pottery/ceramic/glass. an old horse shoe. last weekend i found an old knob of some sort. it looks like something maybe from an old radiator? most people would call it all junk, but we clean them up and keep them. we're accumulating a sort of cabinet of curiosities which we have displayed in the living room. we like hanging on to these fragments of the history of our house. sometimes i feel a little like an amateur archeologist when i'm digging around the garden.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 8:27PM
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Carol_from_ny

I've found a number of things. The house is 175 years old. It was at one time a big dairy and chicken farm and before that the local Indians use to camp out in back when fishing in the creek and river.
I've found sinkers made by the Indians to hold down nets,scraping stones they used, what looks like it may have been an axe head, a stone which looks like it may have been jewerly, arrowheads,pieces of flint and what looks like it may have been a grinding stone.
From the farm days a wide variety of bottles....some are milk bottles with the embossed logo of the old farm..all of those have been in pieces so far, old medicine bottles,pieces of broken china and transferware, old horseshoes, parts of tractors and other farm equipement Bones of various animals.
The best however was a foundation. We think it was for a veal barn or for goats. My oldest son was digging trying to level a spot for us to stack some wood and he hit concrete. Little by little he uncovered a foundation.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 9:27PM
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bloomville(z4 NY)

I appreciate these responses. That's the fun, right, the sense of history and mystery...and the endless fun for those of us who are unrepentant collectors!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 9:30PM
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misstish64(z5 Upstate NY)

The only thing we find here are oyster shells. Lots of oyster shells.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 9:32PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Our house was built in 1890 before paved roads and city garbage collection. There is a trap door under the closet in the leaving room. My DH had to go down there to run the cable for the computer. Buried in the powder like soil, he found a womens high button shoe partially decomposed, a crockery wine jug which is now gracing the top of my welsh cupbord with a sprig of artificial ivy and grape clusters coming out of it, several old bitters bottles and other medicine bottles for croup and other maladies of the period, a broken cheese crock and last but not least a very large bone and I do mean large. Not sure what it came from but it was very creepy. The cable guy who came to help my husband took the bone with him (thank God).

Penny

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 7:17AM
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catskillcottage(z5 NY)

I too find lots of Oyster shells. What's up with that?

I have also found an enormous tooth--like what a horse's molar might look like (having never inspected a horse's teeth at close range I'm only guessing). That kind of freaked me out.
Erin

    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 10:50AM
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jannie(z7 LI NY)

My sister in Hamburg NY (near where the Bills play football) found a car buried in her backyard. Afraid to dig it up, it may have been a mob rub-out.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 12:14PM
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orcuttnyc(z5-6 NY)

You all are lucky...All I find are rocks, rocks and more rocks.....

    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 5:12PM
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crankyoldman(z5 NY)

I have found three big lids to clay crocks. Also a number of bricks. And like orcuttnyc, lots of rocks. Some of the bigger fieldstone I dig up is broken in a similar way, with a flat edge and a triangular point sticking out from it. Can't figure out if it's something that was done deliberately or if it breaks naturally in this strange way.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 7:23PM
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amaqan(4)

The house we are in used to be a garage/ mom and pop store years ago. They buried everything! And what they didn't bury they threw down by the river :( But we have cleaned it up over the last few years.We have found old car parts,keys,locks,tools,glass bottles,insolators,metal wheelbarrel wheels,lanters,potato planter,enamel pans and coffee pots,copper boiler thing,old kitchen tools,bait holder, ect...........
I have saved just about all of it and it is either inside our house or around the yard. The coolest thing we have found while tearing out the wall where the old service station had it's bathroom was a wedding band. We took a chance and asked the lady we bought the house from if it belonged in her family ( same last initial) it was her husbands. He had lost it over 50 years earlier while building a closet to keep vegetables ( which was next to the bathroom...)I had never gone into either room as they were small,dark and creepy with webs and spiders.
Her husband has been dead around 30 years...so it was a fun memory of how her husband had takin the ring off so not to scratch it up and it was never found.How he had tried to replace it behind her back ect...He then wore a ring of her dads just until they found his.
It was cool to give it back to her.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 8:11PM
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hammerl(z5-6 Amherst NY)

All of you are luckier than I am. All I've found were a few bottle caps from the last few decades, an old pull-top tab from pop cans (the style they stopped making in the seventies or so), an old rubber (clear) kid's or cat's ball with an orange fish in the middle, and a plastic bottle from bubbles, minus the wand and solution. My house is 43 years old. You'd think someone would have buried something useful. :-)We've thrown everything out.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 9:17AM
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estevinho(z5 Eastern NY)

Salamanders. I didn't want to disturb them, so I went and dug somewhere else.

Among other buried treasure I've found, Matchbox cars come to mind.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 11:39AM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

Most of the deep digging around here has been done ten years ago to lay foundations for newer houses, and there's so much rock here where I live that no one bothers to dig to deep.
But sometimes I find a few things when I pick a place to put a flower bed that the past ownder didn't have one at. I find old pharmacy bottles, and recently found a rusted old cog that I don't know what it was for, but I plan to keep it to use in a still life sketch or painting.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 12:24PM
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faltered(Hamburg NY Z5/6)

Jannie: I live in Hamburg, too. Can't say I've found a car (or anything for that matter). What did she do? Cover it back up? How strange that must be!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 4:26PM
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bloomville(z4 NY)

Steven, I am curious...what kind of salamander? I once had a very welcome visit from a spotted salamander in my basement. Just curious about what you found while digging.

I should probably add that my digging days are over--in Delaware Co. where I am there are so many rocks I'm moving into surface gardening/lasagna gardening...much easier on the back. But no more buried treasures!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 4:56PM
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oldroser(z5)

Beer bottles and beer bottles and more beer bottles. There used to be a trailer home on the adjacent property and they must have tossed dozens of beer bottles into the woods back of them. Now that's my sugar bush and every spring the crew brings back old beer bottles - and some that are not so old. But times haven't changed all that much - my neighbors, bless them, walk their dog along the road and always bring along a bag so they can collect the bottles as they go. The supply has thinned out since we got deposit bottles but it's supplemented by cartons, paper cups, cigarette packages......

    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 9:52PM
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orcuttnyc(z5-6 NY)

Uh, ohh! Change in topic! I have 400 feet of wooded road frontage. I can't believe how much human debree I have to clean up each week from that road frontage! I usually fill a kitchen sized trash bag full of soda bottles and fast food wrappers, ect, very quickly....Unbelievable that people would/could just toss stuff out the car window.
Last year I had to complain to an across the street neighbor that, no, I didn't want him depositing his yard debree, cuttings, grass, branches, dead bushes, ect.. onto my property...and this was in full sight of my 'NO DUMPING, PRIVATE PROPERTY' signs posted every twenty feet!
My little village does have a voluntary roadside cleanup day each year. Seems to put a small, one weekend dent in 'the litter problem'....but..if people would simply not 'toss',...we would be a lot better off......
Speaking of beer bottles tho. I have noticed less of them tossed out car windows. Guess people are more afraid of DWIs these days. In my county, you lose your licence and they can impound your car!
Sorry for the ramble in a different direction...

    Bookmark   April 26, 2005 at 6:48AM
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tomtuxman(6bNY)

I found the brick floor of an old carriage house or barn, salvaged the bricks for re-use of course. Then there was the really old hub cap, so rusted it was unidentifiable. For some reason, tons of broken glass, so I am always super careful after really gashing my hand once when digging (that reminds me, I need a tetanus shot just in case). I also dug up an entire whole, perfect Carlsberg beer bottle -- is that brand even made any more? -- I haven't seen it in years.

Not "dug up", but I also experienced an unusual amount of beer cans and such deposited just inside my front fence. I think it was partying teenagers who donated them. I got rid of the big dying hemlock trees and the fence and -- voila! -- no more beer cans.

Now if I could find a way to prevent people from cleaning out their car ash trays and dumping it along my curb. For some reason, people visiting the funeral home across the street have a huge propensity to dump ashes and butts there. Weird.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2005 at 11:48AM
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nita22(upstate NY)

I found an old clock key-very rusted. I also regularly find garbage that my neighbors across the way dumped here for years before I bought the lot.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 8:29AM
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estevinho(z5 Eastern NY)

Bloomville, they were nothing exotic, just typical Redback Salamanders. My daughter kept calling them worms. When I pointed out the faces and legs, she called them worms with faces.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 1:02PM
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laurelin(z5a/4b Upstate NY)

Every so often I find marbles around our yard. Some child a while ago must have played with them all over the place. At least they're colorful and harmless. I've also found a layer of sand by our car port - our neighborhood 75 years ago was a country club/golf course. I think I've got the remains of a sand trap. . . .

Laurelin

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 4:12PM
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maureen1953(Z4 Central NY)

We have found many interesting things while digging for our latest project, terracing and stone walls, digging a pond,etc.
We've found old medicine bottles, old milk bottles, pieces of large crocks with blue printing on them, horseshoes, old gate latch, old farm equipment, broken china, and lots of fossils imbedded in rocks, some are just solid fossils, mostly of shells. Our neighbor has found arrowheads and pieces of Indian pottery.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 12:57AM
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presmudjo(z9 Osceola FL)

The old car buried may have been your first septic system! At one time it was a very popular thing. One community in Northern New York had some kind of grant to modernize and it was found most homes had cars buried as septic tanks. What a surprise many homeowners had, and expense since once it was found they all had to redo the septics.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 8:42AM
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philomena(z 5A NY)

I'm in Beacon, and I've found a bunch of odds-n-ends - numerous soda and beer bottles (a favorite was the Pepsi bottle with the raised letters saying "Please dispose of properly"), broken glass, some knives and forks, an auto shock absorber, and old-style tire-iron, half a bicycle wheel, a dolls head(that was weird!), a crowbar, parts of decorative iron fencing, yards of telephone wire, found out that WonderBread plastic bags NEVER breakdown, bits of concrete sidewalk-type material, asphalt, golf balls, a big piece if rebar that is STILL sticking out of the ground which I can't dislodge, and my favorite - a Will Rogers cap gun.
Here's some history to explain some items - back in the 50's, the plot was used by the town to store road-repair equiptment, as a boy, my neighbor across the street used to practise his golf swing into the then-empty plot, and my other neighbor's father used to play cowboys and indians when HE was a boy - back when the whole section was woods. Every year I find more stuff - so long as there are no skeletons, I'm fine with my discoveries :-)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 10:33AM
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robbiezone5(z5 HudsonValley)

no one ever answered the mystery of the clam shells... we, too, often come across these while digging around the yard. i usually joke that they had a big clambake out here.

this has been a very interesting topic. thanks for posting this, bloomville!

--robbie--

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 6:02PM
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misskimmie(z4b Central NY)

Hello all - Utica area checking in... Robbie- My Polish Grandmother brought in clam shells from some where and used them to ...how do I describe it ..outline the borders of the flower beds. many years later and I'm still pulling them out. I find bits of pottery. found a buffalo nickel. A fossils - ( a trilobite). Various pieces of rusted metal - but not too often. Worst thing a found... some hypodermic needles in the garden of the place that i rented out.. I was lucky. I'm the type of girl that gardens with out gloves.. I get my hands right into it. That was a close one.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 11:56PM
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catsmom6(z4 NE NY)

I found a 150 year old coin once. It has a round little dent and I thought it might be from a shotgun pellet, but I suppose it could have been just about anything. I can't think of the exact date without getting it out, but it was right around the Civil War. (I know there was no fighting here.)
We've also found really old bottles while we were digging our pool.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 9:37PM
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ALPSin_NY

Our house is almost 100 years old, and at one time was the hub of a large farm. Haven't found too much interesting stuff: mostly junk and trash from the people I bought the house from. Last fall, while clearing burdock from behind the garage, I discovered that the sellers left me an unexpected surprise: a landfill. I don't know how long they used it for, but it is recent (there are plastic garbage bags, metal cans, plastic bottles, etc...), large, exposed (covered only by weeds and grass) and only 100' from our back door. It's also going to cost $5,000 or more to get it removed and cleaned up. In this town we have a great transfer station at the town hall where you can dump almost anything, as well as having access to sand, dirt, gravel, shreaded wood(mulch). All for free to town residents. Yet these lazy slobs chose to dump household garbage in their own back yard, and invited rats to over-run the garage and move into the house. Amazing how ignorant people can be.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 11:07PM
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madorley(NY mid HV z5/6)

I'm very intested in these cars as septic tanks; must google that. We've found small animal skulls, conch shells, medicine bottles, liquor bottles , pottery shards, square head nails, Wal-Mart bags, iron rake and tool handles, etc. Our neighbor is just digging up his back yard for a new lawn, and DH and I would love to look around. Between our two houses was a brick yard, so we've unearthed tones of brick as well.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 9:43AM
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bunnycat(z6 NY)

The best by far was in the garden in our former house in Dewitt. I dug up a beautiful hammered sterling silver wrap around ring...just my size...in perfect condition. The previous owner of the house must have lost it while gardening. It taught me a lesson, too. I won't make the same mistake.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 2:38PM
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cuteness

RE: TO PENNY ."Our house was built in 1890 before paved roads and city garbage collection. There is a trap door under the closet in the leaving room. My DH had to go down there to run the cable for the computer. Buried in the powder like soil, he found a womens high button shoe partially decomposed, a crockery wine jug which is now gracing the top of my welsh cupbord with a sprig of artificial ivy and grape clusters coming out of it, several old bitters bottles and other medicine bottles for croup and other maladies of the period, a broken cheese crock and last but not least a very large bone and I do mean large. Not sure what it came from but it was very creepy. The cable guy who came to help my husband took the bone with him (thank God)."
Penny

O.O hi penny the bone might belong to that lady who shoe you found :( omg thats scary .

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 11:21PM
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fleethart(z6 WNY)

Mostly I find not so old trash here on the shores of lake ontario. My favorite find while digging in the garden I found while restoring 50yo gardens of an italian immigrant in Santa Cruz, CA. She had extensive gardens that were beautiful in their prime (her family shared photos). Behind her husband's poker shed i found a homer laughlin salad plate from the 1940's. It was very pretty and I used it under a houseplant. I think she would have approved.
Cheers,
Fleety

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 11:38PM
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billyboy_gardener(Zone 5)

I found a picture of bigfoot's mother in my garden!!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 11:37PM
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genoprizebull(6 Akron NY)

I've found a horseshoe, a hotwheels car from the 70's,a small white glass bottle, and the best thing I've dug up(with an excavator)was a 3 foot diameter rock that I put in our horse pasture ,and the horses use it to scratch their bellies.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 7:46AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Fleethart, I used to live in Santa Cruz! Such a beautiful place, too bad it was too expensive. I really loved it there and it was the perfect climate for gardening.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 4:11PM
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bernd ny zone5

These are funny and interesting observations. About the buried car in the backyard, one local guy once told me when I lived in a northern suburb of Boston, that he knows exactly where the town buried two old cars of his in the town dump, and now they were building MacMansions on them.

Around my house I only dug up small pieces of concrete and ceramic tiles, house is only 38 years old. I also had a neighbor who used my front yard. He stood in his driveway across the road while his dog deposited his stuff on my lawn. That guy seemed to have a mental block, his wife also kept a monkey as a pet in the basement.

Have a good one!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 9:10PM
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