Friday June 30th 2006 Privy Dig

We met at the usual location in east Baltimore around 10:30 no need to get to early of a start. We started off with a quick drive around the Fells Point area looking for something to dig. We noticed that a house a couple yards down from one we hit a few years ago had gone empty. We were pretty optimistic because the others holes we have dug in the block have been pretty trashy and had good age 1830-1870. After finding a parking place we grabbed the probe and a shovel and walked up the narrow breeze way type alley. The back yard of the house was covered in piled up debris from the demolition of the entire back of the 1830s row house. We knew from digging other yards in this row that the good age holes were not on the back property line but on a mid line about 15 feet off the back of the yards. There was no obvious sink in the concrete were we figured the hole should be. So we punched a small hole through it with the sledge and gave it a probing. The probe verified that we had punched a hole right on the edge of a square woodliner. After deciding which direction to enlarge our hole we started smashing away. This concrete had some early rebar in it so it was a pain in the ass. We opened up a hole big enough to work in and decided to tunnel under the rest of the slab. We started throwing dirt the first two feet were mostly newer 1920s and 30s era yard trash and ash. Then we went into a sandy layer mixed with bricks, a lot of bricks. So many that it was easer to just dig them loose with a long screwdriver and pitch them out of the hole by hand. After about two feet of this the hole gave way to a nice loamy layer laden with artifacts from the late 1850s. Awesome good soda age I had the feeling we would get a nice soda out of this hole. The first bottle out of the hole was a small pontiled fancy perfume then a few sided puffs. Loads of nice broken pottery of which a few things would glue back nicely. Two broken Wm. Russell stoneware bottles and a citron green 3 piece mold iron pontiled Baltimore glassworks porter with half the top missing. Then a few more intact puffs. We were getting down to the last corner of the privy and it wasn’t looking good for that soda I had hoped for. When all of a sudden I was watching my digging partner when his screwdriver popped out a green torpedo. It looked whole but I couldn’t see any embossing then he wiped it off revealing the BALT. On the back side. He turned it over and wiped off the name. It was embossed Wm. RUSSELL he looked it over and said its good just some minor lip chipping and handed it up. I looked it over and said its not cracked and hurried it off to the truck for safekeeping. I came back and we finished up the hole with a hand full of nice hand painted marbles and another few puffs. Overall this hole wasn’t great but finding the torpedo saved the day.

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