Friday June 20th 2008 Privy Dig

Russ Called me the night before and said he had a pit lined up in West Chester Pa. He asked me if I wanted to come up in the morning and dig. I'm not one to usually turn down a dig invite and this was no exception. I arrived on the site first about 7:00am and I called Russ him and Ken were running about 30 minutes behind. so with nothing to do I took a walk and looked at some of the houses in the area. It was mixed with mostly 1840s-60s houses. I saw several that I would have liked to get permission for. Once Russ showed up he showed me where he had probed the pit and we started opening it up. It was shared with the next house but luckily the yard next door was not well taken care of and over grown so they would not notice us digging under their fence a bit. Interestingly this pit had a fence post sinking into it. Not an uncommon thing to see but this was an 6 foot post with only about 1 foot of it still sticking out of the pit. This scared me a bit as I felt this pit could have been dug in the past and the top 5 feet was mostly modern fill and debris. However due to the lack of any old looking shards mixed in we persisted. and about a foot under the bottom of the fence post was a laid brick patio that had sank nicely into the pit. This was a great sign that this pit hadn't been dug and was just heavily sinking. Below the patio layer the fill turned to soft ash. We set up the tripod and started bucketing out the ashy fill as fast as we could. At about 10 feet we started hitting some loam and turn of the century bottles coming up the sides by 12 feet we were in solid use layer but the age was mostly 1880s-90s with parkers hair balsams and local druggists. We had a couple feet of this age then we hit a clay cap. A quick probing of this cap reviled that it was about 3 feet thick then went to a black wet layer that felt trashy. After removing the clay cap we were in a very mixed 1860s-70s layer. A couple early fruit and food jars were recovered along with several early West Chester druggists. Then on the very bottom. A pontiled balm of a thousand flowers from New York. Then Russ Found a super rare pontiled B. Foster Druggists from West Chester. He was ecstatic as there are only a few known to exist. He had dug one with a hole in the shoulder earlier this year. And had really been wanting to find a perfect one for his collection. Soon the pit was finished and we filled it in and restored the yard. We let Russ have the B. Foster and ken wanted the balm of a thousand flowers and I took a couple early food jars. Then we split up all the other stuff we found. Overall this was a decent pit.

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