Two weeks ago, I published a post about some backyard archaeology at my friend Neal’s house. That post can be read here.
Due to the Memorial Day holiday, extended rain events here in CA, and busy schedules, we were unable continue the excavation until this past Tuesday night.
With a few hours of sunlight left, we agreed on an excavation plan and got to work. Our plan inclued excavating the southern side of the concrete opening/subterranian structure (most likely an old privvy or septic tank) and then, with one side exposed to a depth of four or five feet, we’d disassemble the structure and remove the items inside.
Soon after starting, we discovered another amber coloured Clorox bottle, approximately 10 inches subsurface and approximately 15″ from the concrete dome. This is the third amber-colored Clorox bottle found.
Putting the main excavation on hold, we began excavating the immediate area around the bottle. Pretty soon, we began finding metal chips and a burned and cut piece of bone.
Given the amount of material we were pulling out of the ground, we’re revising our excavation plan to include this area (south of the main excavation).
We’re wondering if the plated metal was part of a metal wind-up toy or such? We found a lot of metal bits and a few larger metal parts (which disintegrated when we tried to remove them). We also found this cut, burned bone segment. These items were found just a few inches below the Clorox bottle.
Neal’s hand is resting on the corner of a concrete item found approximately 5″ beneath the surface, approximately 20″ SW of the initial concrete-hole opening. We have no idea what it is—a concrete block or a foundation of some sort? Only time will tell. Also in trench, multiple bottles and A LOT of rusted metal.
Hinds Honey and Almond Cream bottle from Portland, Maine with intact screw cap (approximately 4.5 inches). This was the first non-Clorox bottle we’d found. After we’d wrapped up for the night, Neal made dinner and I googled the HINDS company. Here’s a link that provides a bit of the company’s history.
After uncovering the Clorox bottle (no. 3), the Hinds bottle, and a thick-walled beer bottle, we found this jumbled cache of bottles within the excavation. It took a while to uncover them all.
All told, on Tuesday night we recovered ten intact bottles of various sizes (Clorox bottle no. 3 not shown) and two broken bottles (neck and base, non-matching). The majority of the bottles were found in a cluster at subsurface of approximately 12-15 inches. Some of the bottles have screw lids, others do not. The cobalt blue bottle (bottom right) had its metal lid partially intact.
Our dig company: Lucy, Siddhartha, and Sky. Lucy and Siddhartha provided supervision, primarily from their perch on the deck. Sky was far more hands-on, laying on the spoils pile or more comically, digging in the spoils pile.
Overall, it was a fun evening spent with a good friend and our dogs. We found a lot of neat old stuff in the excavation which only encourages additional dig sessions. The Clorox bottles (marked Clorox on the bottom) date to the early 30s. The other bottles appear to be of the same time period or a wee bit earlier. We haven’t had a chance to clean any of the items yet. Most of the bottles have makers marks and once we’ve had a chance to sort through everything, we’ll see what else we can learn about them.
We’ll keep ya posted. JIG
Postscript: In full disclosure, there was plenty to drink—just not from the bottles themselves. Some did have liquid in them, but we stuck with good old Tecate to quinch our thirst.