We had a major breakthrough (literally) this evening! Not only were we wicked productive, but the weather could not have been more perfect. As usual, we got to the nitty-gritty as dusk came on and we found ourselves fumbling a bit in the dark. Okay, we may have fumbled a bit because of the beers, but remember kids, it’s important to stay hydrated! Before we get to tonight’s photo documentation, let’s take a quick look back….

the hole

This is what the area looked like on the first night of the expedition (May 25, 2011). My previous posts tracking the dig sessons can be read here:
Part 1, Part II, and Part III and IV

and now, onto this evening’s work…

the start of part V - Neal and Heather 7.26.11

Neal and Heather at the start of the evening. 7.26.11

Bird's eye view of excavation prior to tonight's start
Bird’s eye view of the excavation. Photo by Heather G.

exposed side---

After Neal dug down another 6 or so inches, I used a sledge hammer to begin chipping off the concrete and loosening the brick.

using sledges to expose break the concrete

We took turns—it was hard work! FINALLY we knocked a hole in the side! While we’re nearly 3.5″ deep at this point, the privy walls extend at least another 2 feet subsurface.

Neal strangled by vines from deep within

It’s NOT all digging and drinking beer. Neal hamming it up for the camera—beware of the strangling privy roots!

JIG sleding out the concrete
JIG sledging the concrete and bricks. Photo by Heather G.

Heather G joins the expedition's dig crew

Heather G. joining the dig crew, removing some brick debris before continuing with the demolition.


With the side open, we began prying and knocking bricks and concrete outward—careful to not knock it into the privy (and thus, potentially breaking bottles inside)

VICTORY...wearing ski goggles

Victory… in ski goggles.

safety first

But seriously folks, safety first.

breaking it open

Prying the privy side off. Under the concrete was brick–fourteen layers from bottom to top

getting there

getting there

breaking it open

prying off the last chunks

broken open

prior to opening up the side, we’d stuffed a tarp inside the privy to protect the items inside from falling debris

Pondering next steps
JIG and Neal pondering next steps. We often do this— dig a bit, step back, revises plan of attack, then resume.  Photo by Heather G.

jig inside privy

JIG in the privy. It’s hard to see, but I’m a few feet below surface and sitting inside, surrounded by the privy walls. From this perch, I began pulling out rusted cans and other items from inside. Photo by Heather G.

two of three clay pipes entering the privy

View inside the privy

Neal hopped into the hole, I started cleaning off bottles
Losing light; Neal hopped in to pull out more items; JIG cleaning bottles.

Losing  light, photographing items

JIG photographing items. Photo by Heather G.

broken glass - matching pattern

broken glass with starburst pattern. A vase/stemware piece and a small pitcher.

Beautiful bottles

Beautiful diamond patterned bottle with metal screw lid and two smaller matching square-ish bottles.

A new style of Clorox bottle
Example of metal can and new style Clorex bottle. Most likely the bottle is a newer style than those we’ve excavated previously. Photo  by Heather G.

Cesar and Neal

Cesar and Neal, post dig relaxation!

Glass dropper (?) bottle 1.75"

The small bottle (approximately 2 inches tall) with glass dropper (?) found intact inside a rusted can deep inside the privy. Up until I pulled this piece out, I hadn’t wanted to take home anything we’d found. However, this delicate little bottle positvely woo’ed me and Neal kindly gave it to me. I can’t wait to find out more about it…

All told— a very successful evening with about 10 bottles and 20 rusted cans removed. The evening was capped off with yummy tostadas, a quinoa veggie salad, and coconut zucchini bread— a feast for the hungry diggers.

Our expedition is coming to an end—perhaps one or two more sessions left. Stay tuned…Hoffa could still be in there!