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What's the weirdest thing you've dug up?

 
gardener
Posts: 1975
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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I've only been digging with a shovel and only dug about 2 feet down in my deepest spots, but I've been finding some pretty interesting things!

I think the weirdest thing I've dug up so far is a full water hose. It was buried about 6 inches down and all sprawled out. It was like pulling up a never ending tree root.

The previous owner must have been a golfer, because I find golfballs everywhere.

What are some weird things you've dug up?
 
master pollinator
Posts: 2213
Location: 4b
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Last weekend my brother dug up 350 year old Chinese coin where an old house was being torn down.  I've never dug up anything very interesting. I'll have him send me a picture of it again and post it.
0509201136.jpg
Coin
Coin
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1975
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
753
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Woah, that's pretty awesome!

Yeah I haven't found anything good either, mostly just trash.
 
pollinator
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Found what I suspect was a very old septic tank once. It looked like it was made out of lime plaster and river gravel. Accidentally punched a t post through the lid, thought it was a rock until the t post suddely sank almost all the way into the ground.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1517
Location: Denmark 57N
425
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We're getting quite a collection from our new field. lots of old bits of metal, hinges, keys, the huge bolts one uses to help support bulging walls, a small glass bottle that I think was an injection bottle. old coins, the best of which is a silver 1911 25øre in almost perfect condition. old garden shears and for some really odd reason the metal bits of 2 lever arch files.. what were they doing in a field?
The best find was from the old house and it was a flint scraper.
 
master gardener
Posts: 2420
Location: southern Illinois.
628
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My best is a tow chain that I mentioned in another post. It was 18 inches down in my barn.  My brother dug up some intact Indian pottery and a stone ax head.
 
pollinator
Posts: 144
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA zone 6b
43
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There was the day we thought we were about to discover a body.
We had just moved into our house and were poking through an inherited brush pile to see about cleaning it up. Our home is in a historic neighborhood with small lots, and a brush pile just didn’t seem like the best use of space, not to mention an eyesore. Moved some branches and found what felt like plastic buried in leaves and hummous. We started tugging on it, and it became apparent it was a tarp. And it was heavy.

As we kept pulling it out and unraveling, we started finding the odd tool and other debris. And it was clear that it had been rolled up, and had something heavy at the center. This tarp was huge. Then the nature of the debris we were finding changed and things started to get weird. There was a hat. Then a shoe. And then another shoe. And a paint scraper that was broken off in a way that looked very much like a shiv. That was the point where we started to discuss if maybe we should stop digging and call the police, just in case it was an old crime scene.

In the end, we kept going, and the huge lump in the middle turned out to be just a huge pile of lovely earth. We told the story to the neighbors, and they were able to fill in some blanks.

It turns out that the last time the house was painted (possibly in the 1990s), the painter stopped showing up and didn’t return phone calls. Eventually, the previous owners found another number for him. They called and asked to speak to the painter. The woman on the other end said “who wants to know?” They explained the situation, and asked if he was coming back. She replied, “well, I’m his mother, and it’s going to be a while before he gets back. He’s in federal prison.” TheY asked what they should do with the ladders and other stuff he’d left behind. She said, “I don’t care, sell it for scrap.” So I guess that’s what they did. And the other painting detritus they wrapped up in his tarp (which was actually a friggin pool cover) and dumped in a corner of their yard.

So that’s the strangest thing I’ve dug up.
 
master steward
Posts: 9333
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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I was digging post holes last week and encountered some bones about 2' down.  They were deer sized and very soft.  But well below the topsoil into the sub soil.  
 
Posts: 542
Location: Richwood, West Virginia
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I think I dug up a cannonball. We're across a creek from some fertile level land where I imagine settlers would have built a fort and fired upon raiding parties on the hilly side of my side of the creak, but maybe it's a product of my imagination.
 
Daniel Ackerman
pollinator
Posts: 144
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA zone 6b
43
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Wow! Do you have a picture of it?
 
Burl Smith
Posts: 542
Location: Richwood, West Virginia
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I'll see if I can locate that hunk of rust in the brambles.
 
Posts: 101
Location: California Zone 10b / Wyoming Zone 3b
7
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A few years ago I swapped our tiny city backyard from a 30 slope of dead grass and concrete into three terraces of gardens and drought resistant lawn.  I did it 100% by hand with buckets and shovels and very little of the yard was not turned over and the list of finds was varied:
-Bottles of every shape and size from tiny iridescent perfume bottles to full size milk bottles
-a crystal Christmas ornament
-an inch long fire helmet made of lead (original owner was a fire captain)
-various piles of burned trash full of metal and glass (these were under the concrete walkways). I guess the used to burn the trash and bury it.
-a horse shoe (not the throwing kind)
-two legs from claw foot tub

And the oddest of all
-a solid brash shotgun shell with a monogrammed plug which I think was to protect it from crushing after use.  This was a model made into the late 1800s

We live in the Outer Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco, just north of Golden Gate park which makes the finds all the odder.   I will see if I can find some pictures.
 
pollinator
Posts: 217
Location: Hamburg, Germany
54
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I'm digging a (very small) pond and about a foot down it appears to be yellow plastic sheeting over something hard.  I didn't have the energy to investigate, so I'll brave the horror next weekend.  Also the plastic-wrapped bundle I'm really hoping isn't a pet.  I had planned for part to be 1 foot deep and the rest 3 feet deep, but, um, it may stay 1 foot deep entirely.  At least now I know why the drainage there is so terrible!
 
gardener
Posts: 1899
Location: South of Capricorn
747
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Oh no! We rented a house where the deal was that we took care of the owner`s pack of dogs along with our two, and they got really rowdy. One day I found my adolescent pup running around with a dog skull in its mouth, and what looked like a fur explosion all over the yard. Called up the landlord and it turned out that they hadn't buried a deceased dog deep enough....
 
pollinator
Posts: 300
Location: West Virginny and Kentuck
105
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My modest balloon frame house is 106 years old.  It originally had a tiny cellar under 1/4 of the first floor.  At some point, the rear portion was dug out as well, with a good portion of the dirt just tossed in the remaining quarter of crawlspace, under the living room.  I took it upon myself to remove a good part of that dirt, as it was nearly to the floor joists and we had to get in their for electrical updating.  

I found at least four intact half-gallon stone crocks laying on their sides.  If you don't know up front what they are, you wonder if they might be some artillery shells before they are fully revealed.  We removed the dirt very carefully.

Turns out they were locally made and very collectible.

 
Posts: 13
Location: NW Michigan
2
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Several of the items that we dug up or found on my brother's land that proved useful, cool, or weird were an intact pyrex dish, a stop sign, large chains, and a truck hood. The truck hood initially was used to cover a small pallet structure to keep kindling and small firewood dry. The truck hood worked really well; however, it is destined to be recycled as scrap because it is rusting and covered in toxic paint.
 
Alex Arn
Posts: 101
Location: California Zone 10b / Wyoming Zone 3b
7
building woodworking homestead
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Alex Arn wrote:
-an inch long fire helmet made of lead (original owner was a fire captain)
-two legs from claw foot tub
-a solid brash shotgun shell with a monogrammed plug which I think was to protect it from crushing after use.  This was a model made into the late 1800s



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Forgot about these things, found several but no idea what they were
Forgot about these things, found several but no idea what they were
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IMG_1692.JPG
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Ruth Meyers
pollinator
Posts: 300
Location: West Virginny and Kentuck
105
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Alex, if that tube thingie in the second photo is fired clay under the dirt, that's the "tube" portion of "knob and tube" electrical installation.  Holes are drilled through the structural member and the tube is inserted before the bare wire is threaded through.  Acted as the insulator.  I removed them from my house and was amazed that the structure hadn't burned down.  Original lights were gas though; so just fortunate all the way around.
 
Alex Arn
Posts: 101
Location: California Zone 10b / Wyoming Zone 3b
7
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Ah that would make sense.  There was a lot of rusted wire in some of those same areas.
 
pollinator
Posts: 206
Location: Dry mountains Eastern WA
51
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We are on an 1870’s homestead; our driveway was a RR with a siding here.  When we cleared for our barn we kept finding Stone foundations and A glut of glass beads, old perfume bottles, leather from high button shoes, etc.  The owner we purchased from was very old at the time.  He told us that the RR big shots would come out from the city to a lodge further down the line from us; but would stop for fishing at our place.  They kept several little shacks on our place with some “ladies” they could visit on their fishing expeditions!  Thus the glut of female articles.

Men!
 
pollinator
Posts: 277
Location: Poland
99
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Yesterday I was digging a hole in the new place for compost bin. There used to be a Christmas tree planted, but it died after I cut too many of its branches... It was dripping with resin and never stopped and dried eventually... Sad way to go for a Christmas tree, but I didn't know!
Anyway, we removed it and forgot about it and today I dug up this decoration piece. It's been underground just a couple of years, but looks very ancient now!
IMG_20200728_155107.jpg
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Flora Eerschay
pollinator
Posts: 277
Location: Poland
99
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Now I dug up this! Don't know how I didn't smash it with the shovel.
IMG_20201025_152529.jpg
Tiny bottle containing some mysterious liquid.
Tiny bottle containing some mysterious liquid.
 
Posts: 922
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my most interesting find was more than 40 years ago a perfectly fossilized fern leaf in a rock that split in half, have no idea what happened to it,
 
Posts: 12
Location: North Eastern Ontario, Canada Zone 3B
6
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I'm so sad to always be digging up something everytime I put my shovel in the ground. We are homesteading an 80 acre, former hunt property in the NE Ontario bush, that was unused for about 15 years. Clearly there was no plan for garbage disposal and it feels like previous owners threw garbage wherever they felt. We've turned up an amazing amount of old glass, metal and some plastic in the most unlikely places.

Only once so far have I dug up something of interest. I put my shovel in the ground on our creek bed hillside to plant rhubarb and hit a pickaxe head. A handy tool to have at least.
 
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Multiple crack pipes and needles. Lots of kids clothes and toys. Binoculars. Dishes, pots, and pans. Mostly a TON of tiny pieces of tin foil.
 
Posts: 28
Location: Kitsap County, Washington, USA
14
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A large, Barbie-pink plastic dildo (with lifelike details) that had been partially melted/charred in a fire. From its placement in the yard, it probably fell from the bedroom window directly above. There is no sign that there was ever a significant fire in the house, but it had been a student rental for about 20 years before I bought it, and college kids can be stupid. I really, really want to know the story behind that one, but I suspect the ones I made up for it were all more interesting than what actually happened.

Also, from the front yard (where I also found remains of a fire pit under the lawn), a bag of purple gaming dice in a knitted bag that had completely rotted away, except for a metallic fiber that was part of the original yarn. The dice were still good, so I gave them to a friend's nerdy kid.
 
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 6665
Location: SW Missouri
3057
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On an in town lot, at 2 feet down, an inflatable plastic santa claus and the front axle and suspension for a VW bus.
That same house had a concrete sidewalk at 14 inches under the dirt that was right where I wanted flowerbeds. I took out chunks every spring for years as I expanded the bed.

The rental I'm in now had at one point an above ground pool that was well installed. I have been putting in a garden in that area, and have removed about 40 landscaping blocks from 12- 30 inches down. I am using them to sort of terrace the slope.
 
Posts: 4
Location: Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada
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When I was a kid, my Mom and I drove out to the country where my great Aunt lived. We found a bird had been hit by the car on the way. I went out to the overgrown field to bury the bird and picked a spot far away. The particular spot I chose produced a softball. Lol! It was a field that was used a ball diamond in the past,but I still found it so odd that the one spot I dug up had a ball in the ground.
 
master gardener
Posts: 2177
822
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As a 13yr old on my dad's farm, we were still expanding around the barn we'd built on the foundation/ruins of the house that had once stood next to our 'house' on the top of the hill. As we dug holes for a hitching post, my brother heard his shovel scrape down something metal. The curiosity was too much, and we dug the thing up, only to find it was a beautiful copper pot - a longish, tall, one, with straight sides, and round ends - almost exactly like this one: https://ebth-com-production.imgix.net/2016/05/13/16/15/12/612/IMG_0073.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&w=1400&h=2100&fit=max&crop=

As an adult, I know it was a fish steamer, then? I'd never seen one. Being stupid kids, we didn't stop to think why something like that would be buried 2 or 3 feet down, and we (my stepbrothers - 13 & 11 - and I) opened it. As soon as I recognized it, my gut twisted, and I simultaneously started crying and puking. We'd accidentally exhumed what was probably a stillborn baby. My dad and stepmom came out to see what the fuss was about, because she'd been checking on us, out the window, and saw me start puking, and all 3 of us had apparently paled, the younger brother and I both in tears. The adults both cursed softly, replaced the lid, and once we were all calmed down, they explained that no, it was not likely the foul play we'd feared, but the younger sibling of the previous owner's grandfather. They'd been befriended by the previous owner, and he'd told them about it. So, knew it had been buried somewhere on the property, but had thought it was back, much further away from the original house.

Edited to add: that afternoon, we made a cross for it, then in the evening, we all walked out to a secluded spot on the property, had a little 'service', said a prayer and buried it, again. It was sad, of course, but this little one had died about 90yrs prior, and most anyone who would have been there (save the grandpa, who was a neighbor) was already long gone. That made it much easier for us.
 
gardener
Posts: 2068
Location: Maine, zone 5
916
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Flora Eerschay wrote:Now I dug up this! Don't know how I didn't smash it with the shovel.


Those glass ampules typically have either oxygen sensitive chemicals or pharmaceuticals in them Flora.  Not sure the best way to dispose of them.  It sure is impressive that it stayed in one piece!
 
Posts: 77
Location: western NY (Erie County), USA; zone 5b/6a. Can't exactly tell where the boundary line is.
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Garden hoses. What? That's not weird! you say. OK, so how about a dozen or so 50-100 foot long garden hoses that had lain buried around a maple tree? After I moved into this house I did some landscaping around that tree. I started digging and uncovered a hose. “OK, this is odd.“ That lead to another... and so on. I asked my wife about them and she had no clue what they were doing there, or why her folks had buried them. (Her parents had died a few years before, we met sometime after, courted, done got married and then I moved in.)
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