Sunday July 24th Privy Dig

Well todayís dig started out like usual I woke up about 10:00 and got myself together. Iím not a morning person. But I rarely miss a dig. I had talked to Doug and Larid the night before and we planned to dig a vacant house on east Fayette street. We had already dug several houses in this particular row of 1850s pitched roof houses. So far the holes were square wood liners that went about 6-7 feet deep. And for Baltimore had a large number of bottles dating to the 1860-1880s era. I had planned to meet up with Doug and Larid in the upper fells point area around 11:00 this is a safe place to park my car and use Dougís truck to drive over to the digging site. Well after stopping for Gas and some drinks I was on my way it only takes me about 15 minutes to get downtown. So I ended up being there about quarter of 11:00. Which worked out great as Doug was already waiting in our normal meeting site. After a couple of minutes of loading my tools in his truck we were off. We wasted no time today because it was going to be a real scorcher we just went straight to the planned dig. Well we got there and after moving a large pile of trash in the back yard we exposed the concrete slab. It was in better shape then we had hoped and took quit a bit of effort to bust a hole big enough to work in. We knew exactly were the holes are for this row so no probing is really needed. After the concrete was out of the picture we started throwing dirt. Things were going along pretty fast until at about a foot and a half we hit a crush layer of bricks and cobblestones.  And sometime around the turn of the centaury they ran an out door toilet over this privy. So we had to expose a large cast iron waste pipe and clean out then use the sledge to break it up and get it out of the hole. This is a common thing in Baltimore to have a later flush toilet built right over the old privy with a pipe that runs from the back yard out to the front of the house and hooks into the sewer. After the pipe was out of the way we were able to get the crush layer out pretty quickly as it wasnít very thick. Most Baltimore privies have this layer but its usually much deeper into the hole before it starts. This was a good sign that we would get several feet of trash layer in this hole and hopefully some good bottles. This layer lasted to about 4 feet into the hole then gave way to a nice rich trash layer. This layer started out with some blown crown top beers. When we get to the trash layer we dig with a screwdriver so we donít break anything. The beers soon gave way to some local pharmacy bottles and then a blob soda. There were tons of broken ironstone dishes but as we went down the hole steadily dropped back in age. Finally near the bottom Doug found a nice amber eagle flask from the late 1860s and a pontiled Ayers Cherry Pectoral that was pushed into the clay at the bottom of the hole.  Well since this hole was finished we decided that we would try to tunnel over to the privy in the neighboring yard. This turned out to be quit the project because the privies had 2 Ĺ feet in-between them at it was a very hard packed clay. We ended up using a brick hammer like a small pick to chip our way over untill finally the light gray clay gave way to nice dark rich loam this hole was pretty much identical to the one we just dug except it had a more typical 1 foot thick trash layer. We ended up getting a couple turn of the centaury bottles including a nice Catarrah Cure and a few nice glass swirl marbles. This hole didnít have many bottles in it and most were unembossed. We finished digging out the trash layer on this one then we filled in both holes and went back to my car to split up our finds. Overall this was an ok dig it didnít get deep into pontils but we found some nice bottles for everyone.

Opening Up The Hole

Just Getting To The Trash Layer

Almost On Bottom


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