backyard archaeology

Digging holes for plants always seems to be a big opportunity to find things left by former owners or dropped by visitors to the house.


My most recent haul included this little yellow marble, nails, toys from the kids next door and money. Unfortunately the money almost always takes the form of pennies or nickels—The hundred dollar bills must degrade rapidly in the soil.


When we moved into the house twenty years ago the neighbor’s ivy had overrun the back two thousand square feet of the garden. We found all sorts of stuff lurking in it including an intact barbecue. And then there was this: 65 feet of a brick retaining wall. We had no idea it was there underneath all that ivy.

fossilized-shopping-cartAnd here’s an artifact from my recent walk to my local canyon, the fossil remains of an extinct species of shopping cart, probably courtesy of the unseen homeless who must live nearby.

I’m sure backyard archaeology has turned up stranger things. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve dug up in the garden?

5 thoughts on “backyard archaeology”

  1. I dig up broken beer bottles in my garden all the time. Once I dug up an intact gatorade bottle-with a slimy orangey gatorade still inside! We have a bunch of litter bugs here. I would love to dig marbles. My grandmother in northern Maine dug several marbles. They were beautiful. Wish I knew where they were not. That is a nice brick wall.

  2. In this land-locked city lot I call home, the only dig finds have been chunks of glass and rusty bits. Nothing fun like money or marbles. Maybe I should bury something fun for future generations, like my collection of eight track tapes passed on to me from my father. Conway Twitty and Anne Murray eight-tracks could be all the rage in the future.

  3. Tina, was that you on Antiques Roadshow with the antique Gatorade bottle? I can’t resist the line about losing your marbles…sorry

    Jim, burying a time capsule is fun. Be did it when we remodeled a bathroom. Boy will somebody be surprised when they open up that wall.

    Keep digging. There’s gotta be something exciting buried in the dirt…

  4. Hee hee nice surprise wall! I was going to do a post about what you find when you dig when I unearthed a tiny white elephant sculpture last fall while planting crocus bulbs! That, and some fine (ok, two) flagstones right next to the sidewalk under about 2 inches of turf. I credit the Planter’s Buddy that I won from Kathy at Cold Climate Gardening. There’s not much else to write about, so I should get around to posting that…

  5. Lynn, your elephants sounds like quite a find. Maybe more of its here is out there waiting for your next session of bulb planting. I’m surprised with what I find of other people’s stuff, but what gets to me are my own things that I rediscover. The mind may be going but at least there’s the garden to remind me of things I left there…

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