When I was younger, a lot younger, (so young that my memories are very faded) my mother took me, along with a Girl Scout Troop, hiking. I remember the excitement of finding arrow heads in the dirt. As vague as my memories are, I seem to recall how numerous they were. Years later, Grandma took me to a museum in Kansas City where a few live buffalo roamed among the teepees. I was absolutely fascinated with the artifacts on display.
I used to dig in the dirt with friends from the neighborhood. You might say that’s pretty typical for children, but we dug holes. Big holes. Our goal was to dig ourselves to China. But I couldn’t help thinking that somewhere along the way I’d come across some cool ancient artifact. Even at that young age, I knew the thrill of the hunt, even if it was only a small rock.
I guess my fascination with the past was pretty evident early on in my life. I think that is one thing that draws me to writing historical set romances. I love the research and I’d jump at the chance for hands on exploration. I should have been an archaeologist, but I’ll settle for writing.
As much as I love the idea of digging through the dirt to discover artifacts, I don’t find this particular past-time of interest.
Privy Diggers! Or uh, outhouse diggers. There are all kinds of people who travel the United States looking for old outhouse landmarks. I know, right? You’re probably curling your nose at this whole thing. I mean, seriously, what in the world would posses any one to dig around outhouses?
Well, mainly old bottles. Seems there weren’t many trash collectors back in the day so folks just up and tossed their garbage down the privy hole. According to this digger, Outhouse Diggers, outhouse digging could tell a lot about the people using the outhouse, from their health to their financial status. He also mentions that it’s a great chronological exploration. Some of the outhouses he’s dug up had a span of over fifty years. Bottles aren’t the only thing found on an outhouse dig, things like pistols, clay pipes, human remains. Yes, I said human remains. Hundreds of years old.
Now, things like the flintlock pistol, swords and whatnot are almost enough to make me want to join in on a dig, but bones… not so much.
You really should take the time to read the article. Oh, and here is this one http://www.19thcenturybottlediggers.com/ that actually shows images of things found. Check out the little clay pipes (scroll down the page). Really cool!
I’ve come across a lot of eccentric hobbyists, but this one so far takes the cake.
What think you? Would you go digging around for outhouse holes?