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What's the weirdest thing you've dug up?

 
master gardener
Posts: 1852
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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I've only been digging with a shovel and only dug about 2 feet down in my deepest spots, but I've been finding some pretty interesting things!

I think the weirdest thing I've dug up so far is a full water hose. It was buried about 6 inches down and all sprawled out. It was like pulling up a never ending tree root.

The previous owner must have been a golfer, because I find golfballs everywhere.

What are some weird things you've dug up?
 
pollinator
Posts: 2011
Location: 4b
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Last weekend my brother dug up 350 year old Chinese coin where an old house was being torn down.  I've never dug up anything very interesting. I'll have him send me a picture of it again and post it.
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Coin
Coin
 
Steve Thorn
master gardener
Posts: 1852
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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Woah, that's pretty awesome!

Yeah I haven't found anything good either, mostly just trash.
 
pollinator
Posts: 710
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Found what I suspect was a very old septic tank once. It looked like it was made out of lime plaster and river gravel. Accidentally punched a t post through the lid, thought it was a rock until the t post suddely sank almost all the way into the ground.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1127
Location: Denmark 57N
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We're getting quite a collection from our new field. lots of old bits of metal, hinges, keys, the huge bolts one uses to help support bulging walls, a small glass bottle that I think was an injection bottle. old coins, the best of which is a silver 1911 25øre in almost perfect condition. old garden shears and for some really odd reason the metal bits of 2 lever arch files.. what were they doing in a field?
The best find was from the old house and it was a flint scraper.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 1149
Location: southern Illinois.
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My best is a tow chain that I mentioned in another post. It was 18 inches down in my barn.  My brother dug up some intact Indian pottery and a stone ax head.
 
pollinator
Posts: 137
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA zone 6b
40
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There was the day we thought we were about to discover a body.
We had just moved into our house and were poking through an inherited brush pile to see about cleaning it up. Our home is in a historic neighborhood with small lots, and a brush pile just didn’t seem like the best use of space, not to mention an eyesore. Moved some branches and found what felt like plastic buried in leaves and hummous. We started tugging on it, and it became apparent it was a tarp. And it was heavy.

As we kept pulling it out and unraveling, we started finding the odd tool and other debris. And it was clear that it had been rolled up, and had something heavy at the center. This tarp was huge. Then the nature of the debris we were finding changed and things started to get weird. There was a hat. Then a shoe. And then another shoe. And a paint scraper that was broken off in a way that looked very much like a shiv. That was the point where we started to discuss if maybe we should stop digging and call the police, just in case it was an old crime scene.

In the end, we kept going, and the huge lump in the middle turned out to be just a huge pile of lovely earth. We told the story to the neighbors, and they were able to fill in some blanks.

It turns out that the last time the house was painted (possibly in the 1990s), the painter stopped showing up and didn’t return phone calls. Eventually, the previous owners found another number for him. They called and asked to speak to the painter. The woman on the other end said “who wants to know?” They explained the situation, and asked if he was coming back. She replied, “well, I’m his mother, and it’s going to be a while before he gets back. He’s in federal prison.” TheY asked what they should do with the ladders and other stuff he’d left behind. She said, “I don’t care, sell it for scrap.” So I guess that’s what they did. And the other painting detritus they wrapped up in his tarp (which was actually a friggin pool cover) and dumped in a corner of their yard.

So that’s the strangest thing I’ve dug up.
 
master steward
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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I was digging post holes last week and encountered some bones about 2' down.  They were deer sized and very soft.  But well below the topsoil into the sub soil.  
 
Posts: 420
Location: Richwood, West Virginia
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I think I dug up a cannonball. We're across a creek from some fertile level land where I imagine settlers would have built a fort and fired upon raiding parties on the hilly side of my side of the creak, but maybe it's a product of my imagination.
 
Daniel Ackerman
pollinator
Posts: 137
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA zone 6b
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Wow! Do you have a picture of it?
 
Burl Smith
Posts: 420
Location: Richwood, West Virginia
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I'll see if I can locate that hunk of rust in the brambles.
 
Posts: 83
Location: California Zone 10b / Wyoming Zone 3b
3
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A few years ago I swapped our tiny city backyard from a 30 slope of dead grass and concrete into three terraces of gardens and drought resistant lawn.  I did it 100% by hand with buckets and shovels and very little of the yard was not turned over and the list of finds was varied:
-Bottles of every shape and size from tiny iridescent perfume bottles to full size milk bottles
-a crystal Christmas ornament
-an inch long fire helmet made of lead (original owner was a fire captain)
-various piles of burned trash full of metal and glass (these were under the concrete walkways). I guess the used to burn the trash and bury it.
-a horse shoe (not the throwing kind)
-two legs from claw foot tub

And the oddest of all
-a solid brash shotgun shell with a monogrammed plug which I think was to protect it from crushing after use.  This was a model made into the late 1800s

We live in the Outer Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco, just north of Golden Gate park which makes the finds all the odder.   I will see if I can find some pictures.
 
pollinator
Posts: 161
Location: Hamburg, Germany
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I'm digging a (very small) pond and about a foot down it appears to be yellow plastic sheeting over something hard.  I didn't have the energy to investigate, so I'll brave the horror next weekend.  Also the plastic-wrapped bundle I'm really hoping isn't a pet.  I had planned for part to be 1 foot deep and the rest 3 feet deep, but, um, it may stay 1 foot deep entirely.  At least now I know why the drainage there is so terrible!
 
gardener
Posts: 1507
Location: South of Capricorn
540
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Oh no! We rented a house where the deal was that we took care of the owner`s pack of dogs along with our two, and they got really rowdy. One day I found my adolescent pup running around with a dog skull in its mouth, and what looked like a fur explosion all over the yard. Called up the landlord and it turned out that they hadn't buried a deceased dog deep enough....
 
pollinator
Posts: 296
Location: West Virginny and Kentuck
97
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My modest balloon frame house is 106 years old.  It originally had a tiny cellar under 1/4 of the first floor.  At some point, the rear portion was dug out as well, with a good portion of the dirt just tossed in the remaining quarter of crawlspace, under the living room.  I took it upon myself to remove a good part of that dirt, as it was nearly to the floor joists and we had to get in their for electrical updating.  

I found at least four intact half-gallon stone crocks laying on their sides.  If you don't know up front what they are, you wonder if they might be some artillery shells before they are fully revealed.  We removed the dirt very carefully.

Turns out they were locally made and very collectible.

 
Posts: 9
Location: NW Michigan
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Several of the items that we dug up or found on my brother's land that proved useful, cool, or weird were an intact pyrex dish, a stop sign, large chains, and a truck hood. The truck hood initially was used to cover a small pallet structure to keep kindling and small firewood dry. The truck hood worked really well; however, it is destined to be recycled as scrap because it is rusting and covered in toxic paint.
 
Alex Arn
Posts: 83
Location: California Zone 10b / Wyoming Zone 3b
3
building woodworking homestead
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Alex Arn wrote:
-an inch long fire helmet made of lead (original owner was a fire captain)
-two legs from claw foot tub
-a solid brash shotgun shell with a monogrammed plug which I think was to protect it from crushing after use.  This was a model made into the late 1800s



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Forgot about these things, found several but no idea what they were
Forgot about these things, found several but no idea what they were
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Ruth Meyers
pollinator
Posts: 296
Location: West Virginny and Kentuck
97
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Alex, if that tube thingie in the second photo is fired clay under the dirt, that's the "tube" portion of "knob and tube" electrical installation.  Holes are drilled through the structural member and the tube is inserted before the bare wire is threaded through.  Acted as the insulator.  I removed them from my house and was amazed that the structure hadn't burned down.  Original lights were gas though; so just fortunate all the way around.
 
Alex Arn
Posts: 83
Location: California Zone 10b / Wyoming Zone 3b
3
building woodworking homestead
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Ah that would make sense.  There was a lot of rusted wire in some of those same areas.
 
Posts: 74
Location: Dry mountains Eastern WA
17
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We are on an 1870’s homestead; our driveway was a RR with a siding here.  When we cleared for our barn we kept finding Stone foundations and A glut of glass beads, old perfume bottles, leather from high button shoes, etc.  The owner we purchased from was very old at the time.  He told us that the RR big shots would come out from the city to a lodge further down the line from us; but would stop for fishing at our place.  They kept several little shacks on our place with some “ladies” they could visit on their fishing expeditions!  Thus the glut of female articles.

Men!
 
pollinator
Posts: 191
Location: Poland
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Yesterday I was digging a hole in the new place for compost bin. There used to be a Christmas tree planted, but it died after I cut too many of its branches... It was dripping with resin and never stopped and dried eventually... Sad way to go for a Christmas tree, but I didn't know!
Anyway, we removed it and forgot about it and today I dug up this decoration piece. It's been underground just a couple of years, but looks very ancient now!
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