First Victorian bottle dig!

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Easylife
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I discovered a bottle dump by the rear boundary of a large Victorian house set in 8 acres and have permission to dig it if I wish. The house dates about 1850 so not really expecting any bottles to be much older than that. The pit is perhaps 8 foot square at a guess though it could be wider. It has a 2 foot bank on one side and a 4 foot bank on the other. It looks like it was never filled in as there are many surface bottles and pottery.
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A few surface bottles including a Corona pop bottle of maybe the 1930's?
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I don't know if this is the only bottle dump here or if there is an older one about that has been filled in but guess it is logical that there should be bottles dating back to when the house was built mid 1800's so maybe quite a rare oppertunity? Perhaps just a few feet deep even? I think I might give it a go as It'll make a change, but where to start? I guess at the side, dig down and work in? I've gleaned some knowledge from Kenleyboy's excellent posts but all advice is most welcome regarding the best plan of attack and method. It'll be quite interesting to see what shows up!
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Kenleyboy
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Firstly well done on finding a bottle pit :thumbsup: . By rights you can assume that there should be bottles dating back to when the property was built but its generally not the case however there is still hope . The older stuff should be at the bottom but again not always true , a lot of bottles were mixed or even transported from one pit to another if that original pit was to be used for some other reason . I am just generalising but going by the bottles you have there they are 40s and 50s era . Screw tops and bakelite lids . Still old though as far as bottles are concerned .
I doubt the pit is that deep , as you say a couple of feet but you wont know until you dig it out and find out what lurks beneath the more modern layer . I really do hope you can locate some earlier stuff , then you are onto a winner but at the same time still enjoy the dig and the bottles no matter what era they are from .
What also could happen is you stumble across some late chuckouts mixed in with the 40s stuff , always a possibilty when older items were out of fashion or not desirable anymore . A friend of mine dug out a very late tip , mostly 60s era but found a very nice 1860 stoneware porter bottle amongst the the old plastic fairy liquid bottles etc so it does and can happen .
Despite the late looking bottles you will still find some neat stuff in there , blue or green ribbed poison bottles with even the possibilty of some stoneware flagons , they used them well into the 50s .
Great find and good luck :thumbsup:
Dave The Slave
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Well done on finding the tip and also on having the opportunity to dig it.
Sure you will make some exciting discoveries to you.
Most finds will be run of the mill to the pro bottle diggers, but will be exciting to you and us if you have never seen one before .
Lucky that we have Paul (Kenleyboy ) on the Hub , who has a great depth ( normally several feet deep ) :lol: of knowledge on the subject.
Good luck on digging this and look forward to seeing what you unearth.
Cheers, :thumbsup:
Dave.
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Oxgirl
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Looking forward to your updates on this site. I think we’ve all been enjoying Kenleyboy’s tales from his tips and it’s awaken an interest in bottles, poisons and stoneware.

Hope it delivers for you now :D
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Ooooh, 2 bottle diggers now
I really do enjoy seeing what you guys find that was thrown away back in the day
Looking forward to more fella :thumbsup:
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Easylife
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The forecast was rain all day but it was looking bright Saturday afternoon so I collected up some digging tools and made a start expecting to get rained off, but fortunately did not. So just where to start, is there a right or wrong place? Well I don't know, it's all new to me so I thought let's aim for it's heart rather than miss altogether! The pit is on a slope and with not knowing the true extent of it I chose a spot that I felt was kind of central. I raked the surface ivy out of the way and a few more bottles showed though mostly broken. Once past the 6" layer of dense thin roots the ground was very dry but the fork soon loosened it up. I was curious to see just how deep this pit was so I carefully dug a 2 foot square hole straight down. There were bottles, crockery, old rusty buckets, bones etc, I wasn't going to mention the toothbrushes! :o The bottles seemed a bit mixed but were mainly screw tops to about 2 foot deep then mostly corked ones after.
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At about 3 foot deep I hit a very solid flat botton, it was clearly a brick floor, the last thing I was expecting, well that's not supposed to be here! :shock:
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So now there is an unexpected mystery to solve, with the floor being say 4 foot or so below normal ground level I can only guess that it was perhaps once an ice house, though all ideas are most welcome! A floor should naturally be joined to walls so I chose a direction to excavate in hoping to find one and then follow it round to see just how big this floor actually is? Once the hole had opened up a bit it was easy to just sit on the edge to loosen off the bank, pull out bottles, and shovel the surplus off the brick floor which has now started to slope yet deeper into the ground the further I go, so just where are we going with this oddity! :?
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No doubt further excavation will give more clues as to what this once was? It is almost on the back boundary and about 50m from the back of the house. Any thoughts?
So quite an unexpected twist and unlikely to be the original pit but interesting all the same. The range of finds so far is looking rather good though not sure if we have quite broken the pre 1900 barrier yet but feel it is at least very close, who knows just what will turn up next! Finds to follow. :thumbsup:
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shaggybfc
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Looks like you’re going to have fun with this. Also looks back breaking work :thumbsup:
As you say finds are not too old, maybe the floor isn’t either, so should be shown on maps.... if it’s a floor and not a path.
I look forward to seeing what else comes up - good luck :thumbsup:
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Easylife
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shaggybfc wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 7:51 am
As you say finds are not too old, maybe the floor isn’t either, so should be shown on maps.... if it’s a floor and not a path.
I look forward to seeing what else comes up - good luck :thumbsup:
It's logical that the floor is Victorian and I feel was filled in perhaps 1890 onwards at a guess? It is not shown on maps.
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Oxgirl
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Interesting! That looks like it might be a brick roof if it’s sloping :Thinking: Maybe there was a house before the current one and it is an ice house or similar?

Guess it could be the floor of something though, maybe the laundry house? Again that would account for the slop (assuming it isn’t just sinking!)

Love a mystery!
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Easylife
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Oxgirl wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 12:46 pm Guess it could be the floor of something though, maybe the laundry house? Again that would account for the slop (assuming it isn’t just sinking!)

Love a mystery!
I would guess that it has just sunk a bit to account for the slope but further excavation should clarify. There will be steps leading down to it as it is at least 4 foot or so below ground level.
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Easylife
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My Saturday afternoon first bottle digging effort. I excavated a 4 foot square hole of about 3 1/2 feet deep, it was quite slow going as the ground was pretty full of stuff. I recovered over one hundred intact bottles from just that hole alone. I'm guessing that there could be about nine times that area judging from the bank around the pit but the lay of the land is difficult to figure.
Well here's the finds, it rained during clean up!
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Well that was fun and interesting, a fair selection of bottles too so I'm quite happy with that result. No stoneware this time but am sure that there will be some about. :thumbsup:
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Blue magnesia, Tablespoons, Dinneford's magnesia, Scrubb's fluid.
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With separate collars.
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Benbow's dog mixture, Palmacora, Califig.
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Wide neck?
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The Benbow's dog mixture bottle and the tiny green bottle are my favourites.
Any info about the bottle ages is most welcome. :thumbsup:
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Dave The Slave
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Great digging Easy.
Like the photos.
Blue Palmacora bottle seems to be early 1900`s after looking it up.
No doubt Paul, (KB) will be along to shed more light on your finds.
Cheers, :thumbsup:
Dave.
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Easylife
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I chose five more to add variety. The green one still has some milky fluid inside? A Pear's, a Martell cognac, a Swan ink, and a Maclean's hydrogen peroxide with a distorted neck.
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Easylife
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I also found this clay disc though not sure what it is. It measures 45mm x 15mm and is very slightly domed on top. Any ideas?
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