Saturday, February 15, 2014

Suburban archeology 2

 Good things come in glass...
There was a story in the paper this morning about a builder who uncovered some antique bottles and vessels while restoring a cottage which was formally the home of an Anglican Minister. Question is, was said Minister having a tipple or two in the garden or merely entertaining parishioners with good cheer. A small stash of coins was also found in the ceiling.
Digging up bottles can be a bit tricky. Often a spade will slide off the glass surface without shattering it especially if you are working in clay soils. Once you see that glint of intact glass it is time to go down on hands and knees and carefully work around the bottle removing soil with a small trowel. When the bottle is out of the ground intact I usually wash off the excess dirt with a combination of shaking vigorously to dislodge stuff at the bottom and then soaking it for a few days to loosen any other things like tree roots or fibre. 
The most sort after bottles are those which were once sealed with a glass stopper. I like "bottle green" ones for the colour of course. Medicine bottles often have a flat face as an indication that once a paper label was attached probably with a pharmacist note of instruction. Classic Coca-Cola bottles with their familiar and distinctive design never fail to please as does the miky blue glass of an early Ponds Cold Cream jar. Keep digging...

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