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Dig Zone

 

THE DIG ZONE 

  
I've always had a fascination of old things and the history associated with them. I'll never forget my first real bottle hunt in 1966, I was only twelve. Dad had a friend who owned an old farm where we went and discovered a huge dump. We dug there for over a month and uncovered dozens of 19th century bottles, from then on I was hooked. Six years later I went on to study archeology in college and later on became involved in many organized digs. One of my favorites was during the excavation phase of "Embarcadero Center Four" in San Francisco with the Maritime Muesum. We uncovered three Gold Rush era ships buried in the Bay fill thirty feet below street level along with hundreds of 1850s bottles and artifacts.

Since 1975 I've been in the building & underground construction business & have worked on several historic projects. Have been a member of the "North Western Bottle Collectors Association" for over 40 years, serving three consecutive terms as president. I've been involved with local museums and served on board of directors. In the early 1990s I volunteered countless hours to help completely renovate a large old school  building for the "Tomales Regional History Center" in Marin County. There, I was on the building renovation committee, serving as a construction/project advisor and carpenter. Have helped organize and create several local history related displays for museums, schools and businesses. Over the years we've donated numerous items of historical intrest to our local museums helping to preserve our past.We do a hands on early California history presentation for grade schools and other organizations. I feel fortunate to have discovered such a wonderful interest  early on in  life digging into the past.

Every dig offers a unique glimpse into the past lives of the people in relation to the site they occupied. Homes & businesses in the 19th century often had: cistrens, prives or garbadge pits. These would often become trash recptiles since garbadge service as we know it today did not exsist. We use precise methods before digging to accurately locate an area that may contain 19th century deposits. Unsually a small area of about 4ft.x4ft. is opened where we then carefully dig by hand to the original depth of the feature. Once completed, usually in a day,  the area is backfilled, compacted & fully restored.  If sucessful, we love sharing our finds and information about the property. I also do free site inspections for those who are just interested in knowing more about the history & structures on a property. In addition to safety, leaving a site in as good or better condition than found is always high priority for us.  try and do the best possible job on all levels. Besides the many labor intensive hours that go into a dig, we enjoy spending a considerable amount of time researching a properties history which ties it all together. Many days are spent with no results as far as bottles go but that's not always what it's about for us. It's about a genuine love of early California history, old bottle glass, preservation and a connection with our historic past.

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 The following stories are a few of our more interesting digs with some pictures depicting deep underground excavations. Anything deeper than waist depth can be extremely dangerous if you don't know what your doing. Under no circumstances should anyone ever attempt such an endeavor who is not highly experienced in such excavations, underground safety and soils. If your going to dig; Always have permission, be respectful of your finds and leave the site just as you found it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


©2005 Wednesday, December 1, 2021