A summers day bottle dig

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Kenleyboy
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Back out on the deep dig tip today with my old digging buddy,and it was an early start for us and while the rest of Norfolk slept we were in amongst the stinging nettles at first light . It is such a peaceful time of the morning and being out in the middle of nowhere , there is not a single sound other than the awakening of a nearby Balckbird heralding the start of yet another day . He was singing away , well hidden amongst the dense foliage of a willow tree and the curtain of long drooping branches festooned with leaves kept him safe .
It was going to be a warm day today despite the hint of dull grey clouds and the possible threat of rain early afternoon but we had a good head start by being so early and the time would afford us a decent start on our respective pits .
I like this tip even though it doesn't always give up the goodies , it tis hard work and the rewards are scant but as with metal detecting , you can have good days and bad days , not every dig is rewarding but it is in other ways . I have dug here for a few years now in all manner of weather and through the seasons and it never ceases to amaze what the surrounding landscape can bring whether it is bathed in sunshine or frozen under a skin of frost , it can be breathtaking to just sit and watch while on a break from the arduous digging .The very word "Tip" can conjure up all sorts of visions of piles of rubbish and waste but most are far from it . Being a Victorian tip and like many others , once the tipping has ceased nature will wake from its ever patient slumber and spread her goodness and reclaim what spoils man has laid . If it was not for the intrusion and evidence of digging you could be forgiven in thinking that this was a forgotten wild wood and even though this is remote and out of harms away we still fill in the holes in case a Deer could fall into our deepening pits , return as you have found .
So the quest begins once again , the mind numbing psyche yourself up matter in hand , re digging out the spoil and then chopping forward in a progressive manner in the hope we may fiord. what we are looking for hidden amongst the hundred plus years of ash and soil .
the pit .jpg
This is not dug in one hit, it is a gradual process , plenty of rest up , sitting and talking with the kindest of friends , it is all part of the equation and just like fishing , it isn't just about catching fish . We sit and chat about how the digging is going , the finds or lack of them , the common survivors and the broken rare pieces , it is always the way but its fun and that is what it is all about for us both . There is mild revelation when we hit the water table and watch the dark water gurgle to the top and form a black oozing puddle but we don't mind the mess , it means we have hit bottom and now the exciting part will begin by chopping forward into the walls of compacted ancient ash .
We hang onto that moment , still drinking tea knowing that the exciting prospect after all the hardworking is but a mere shovel full of soil away .
A welcome breeze picks up and rustles up the leaves of the line of willow trees behind us and we welcome that cool refreshing gust of wind which takes the mild heat of the growing morning away , digging is hot work and even more so in the summertime .
Refreshed with tea we each make our way back to our digging holes and now the fun begins .
chasing the seam.jpg
In this photo you can see a thin light line cutting along the base of the wall , this is sand and I thank God it isn't chalk which is a nightmare to dig through and sticks to your spade making it extra hardwork . Above this is a thick line of clay or what we would call the clay cap . This would be a usual procedure to dump the rubbish and level it off and then lay down a bed of clay above to "cap " it off , hence the name . Then they would tip onto of this and my task today is to follow this line or otherwise known as chasing the seam . Good bottles can be wedged in these areas and soon I am rewarded with the tell tale sign of the much loved stoneware ginger beer bottle .
forster Moore in the wall.jpg
It is a good sign and I know that there is a good chance that there will be others hidden within the soil and ash .
Soon after the bottle is extracted out from the compact soil and checked for damage but luckily this one is clean .
Forster Moore out the wall.jpg
From the photograph you vcamn see a small hole in the corner just above the clay capping , tis is where this bottle lay and soon enough after a bit more digging away at the sides , yet another pokes its head out and awaits too be revealed by one happy digger .
steward and patteson out the wall.jpg
This one is fairly common but still a pretty bottle a nice fish colour and very welcome . It is a slow process though but enjoyable , one moment you are digging in the slush and you feel that twang when the spade or fork prong touches glass , it is an unmistakable sound and then the probing begins until its extracted out of the gloopy mud .
As the morning wears on it is time to rest up a little more regularly as the body slows down through tiredness and of course age . I am happy to do this , content that I have started to find some decent bits and the headwork has been rewarded in kind . it also nice to just sit there and enjoy the surroundings , watch the swallows skim the tips of the nettles , butterflies galore and with the abundance of stinging nettles there are plenty of different species to enjoy from painted ladies , peacock and small tortoiseshell , pretty colourful little creatures . We were also blessed with three healthy flocks of Greylag Geese , we heard them before we saw them beyond the willows . Up and over they came amidst the sound of throaty squarking perfect arrow head formations with the leader of one flock being pure white !
todays finds f.moore.jpg
The final tally of a very enjoyable day .
Blackadder43
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I love the fact in your write ups that you are, hmmm whats the words i'm looking for......reserved i think would fit
You both are there for more than just finding really nice bottles and items :thumbsup:
And, the bottle gods rewarded you with what i consider to be a great haul
It still amazes me that under potentially tonnes of soil these bottles remain intact...

Looks like you had a great day and some real nice bottles to ice the cake... :Star:

Your storage area must be full, if you are like me that is and dont like getting rid of anything... :lol:

Cheers for sharing your dig with us Paul
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Easylife
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What a great informative read, that looks a good result to a layman like me. I feel that you have taught us all a fair bit about bottle digging. :thumbsup:
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Oxgirl
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I feel all relaxed and calm after reading that. I feel like I was with you both and it sounds like you both have a wonderful friendship and such fun digging together.

Wonderful finds too. If it didn’t involve do much digging I’d be converted :D
Yes I really don’t like Roman coins, I’m not joking
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Steve_JT
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A great write up, I almost felt I was there, but the depth of that dig took some effort
Lovely old bottles

Regards Steve
A foolish faith in authority, is the worst enemy of truth." Albert Einstein
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figgis
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Great writeup as ever, Paul, and thanks for sharing it. You always paint a picture of bottle digging for us non-bottlers (no such word) to enjoy.

Now and again we come across small bottle dumps, but this is usually after the JCB has carved a trench through the middle of them, trashing much of the content. It's fun and absorbing sifting through the spoil for goodies and I can see how it could become addictive :thumbsup:
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Ladybird66
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It aways amazes me that you have the patience to re-dig the holes you’ve made on previous visits. The pics of that hole make me feel rather claustrophobic.
Love the pics though. They look like some you see in documentaries showing the ‘events’ of the past in clear layers.
All your effort was well rewarded with some nice finds though. The little blue bottle is a lovely find. Looks like it could have been carried in a ladies purse. And the decorated ceramic, what is it ? good quality by the look of it. Must admit, ginger beers don’t excite me much, though they are a good record of containers through time and record the companies that filled them. The pottery equivalent of coins but more personal.
Always great to read your posts Paul. They give us an insight to another hobby that some. of us would love to try but never will.
Thanks, again, for taking the time to write such a readable article.
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Kenleyboy
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Oxgirl wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:44 pm I feel all relaxed and calm after reading that. I feel like I was with you both and it sounds like you both have a wonderful friendship and such fun digging together.

Wonderful finds too. If it didn’t involve do much digging I’d be converted :D
Just say the word Oxgirl and I will be at the ready with my digging kit , would make a good story to post on here :thumbsup:
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Kenleyboy
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Ladybird66 wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:17 am It aways amazes me that you have the patience to re-dig the holes you’ve made on previous visits. The pics of that hole make me feel rather claustrophobic.
Love the pics though. They look like some you see in documentaries showing the ‘events’ of the past in clear layers.
All your effort was well rewarded with some nice finds though. The little blue bottle is a lovely find. Looks like it could have been carried in a ladies purse. And the decorated ceramic, what is it ? good quality by the look of it. Must admit, ginger beers don’t excite me much, though they are a good record of containers through time and record the companies that filled them. The pottery equivalent of coins but more personal.
Always great to read your posts Paul. They give us an insight to another hobby that some. of us would love to try but never will.
Thanks, again, for taking the time to write such a readable article.
Good to see you on here Ladybird :D The ceramic lid was the very first piece of crockery that I have ever dug whole , it was mint , not even a scratch . Its not my thing to be honest but it was pretty enough to warrant an inclusion in the photograph . I think it was maybe a lid from a butter dish or similar . Good quality with nice decoration so perhaps an expensive upmarket item back in the day . I gave it to my digging buddy as he likes this sort of thing and it would be a shame to just drop it back in the hole considering it was in such top condition .
Dave The Slave
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Great write up, Paul, with the accompanying photos.
As always you are instantly there.
You describe the word Tip perfectly. We imagine a solid mass of stuff, that comes with todays throwaway society, rather than just the broken or unusable items of long ago.
Thanks for sharing your day out. :thumbsup:
Dave.
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Kenleyboy
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An example of how clean these bottles can be once they have had a good soaking . This one was left in bleach overnight to rid the internal stains which are a pain to remove . Considering this has been buried in the ground for 100 plus years , the glass is in remarkable condition .
Dawsons Codd bottle cleaned .jpg
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Susie F
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Beautiful :thumbsup:
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Bors
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Blackadder43 wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:18 pm I love the fact in your write ups that you are, hmmm whats the words i'm looking for......reserved i think would fit
You both are there for more than just finding really nice bottles and items :thumbsup:
And, the bottle gods rewarded you with what i consider to be a great haul
It still amazes me that under potentially tonnes of soil these bottles remain intact...

Looks like you had a great day and some real nice bottles to ice the cake... :Star:

Your storage area must be full, if you are like me that is and dont like getting rid of anything... :lol:

Cheers for sharing your dig with us Paul
Could be worse, he could decide to start hanging them by pieces of String around the Gaff. :lol:
Or when he gets his 10 th Green bottle ,lining them all up along the back garden wall.
Things aint cooking in my kitchen
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Kenleyboy
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Bors wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 4:27 pm Could be worse, he could decide to start hanging them by pieces of String around the Gaff. :lol:
Or when he gets his 10 th Green bottle ,lining them all up along the back garden wall.
I had a big clear out of all the boxes of bottles in the shed and sold the lot and now there is room for the lawnmower :thumbsup:
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