Saturday November, 11th 2006 Privy Dig
We have been digging regularly like always the last few pits have been mostly smaller brickliners and barrels with nothing in them. So we decided that we would take a digging trip to Philadelphia. The problem with digging in Philly is that the pits are big across and very deep. You really need a full day to dig one so its best to have something lined up to dig and not waste time driving around looking for potential sites. It can easily take 18 hours to dig a Philly pit and in all reality you need two days on the very deep pits. So about a week ago I drove up to Philly to meet up with A local digger named Matt he had never dug a privy before but lives just outside of downtown Philly. My goal was to find a pit to dig the following weekend and to teach Matt how to locate pits so he can line up sites for future digs. I got to Philly around 10:00 am and picked up Matt and we went to the northern liberties section of town. It took me about two hours to find a small empty lot. The ground on the lot was so hard packed for the first 2 feet that probing was imposable so we had to dig test holes then probe from those. It took us about another hour to find a pit. Then we dug it down a few feet to make sure it wasn't already dug. this one looked good so we pilled some trash in it and put some dirt on to make it look dug incase any other diggers stumbled on it before we could return the following weekend. After a week of waiting and feeling very excited to get out and dig we left Baltimore around 6:00 Saturday and arrived in Philly about 8:00 we quickly got started opening the pit back up. Matt arrived about 8:30. The top 4 feet of the pit had cast iron sewer pipes running through it from several different houses and was just full of bricks and stones. It was very hard digging once we finally got the pipes broken up and out of the way digging took on a faster pace. about 5 feet in we set up the tripod and started bucketing out dirt, ash, and bricks for the next 10 feet. Finally at about 14 feet deep the clay and bricks gave way to a nice brown loam that was laden with 1870s bottles and artifacts. It was soft and easy digging. We started popping out green and aqua smooth based squat sodas and a few medicines. A nice stoneware McKinney's Mead and then a few pontil meds started appearing the layer slowly aged and the smooth based sodas gave way to iron pontiled ones. This brown loamy layer was about 6 feet thick and dated from the late 1850s to the early 1870s. Finally the loam gave way to that black stinky muck for the bottom two feet of the pit this layer also was much older with lots of redware and mocha shards it looked to date from the 1830s so this pit had been dipped back to this layer in the late 1850s early 1860s. We did get several pontiled puffs and one cool pontiled sealed French jar. then finally bottom at about 22 feet.
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