Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Archeology Site at the Dusty Victorian

Garbage has been a problem going back to ancient Greece. People burned waste, fed it to animals, buried it, and most commonly, tossed it wherever they could. Some cities built over the waste, and pioneered new ways to combat vermin and disease. But before garbage collection and city dumps, most people used their backyards to dispose of their waste. Evidence of this surfacing every spring from the Dusty Victorian's backyard.

Because the end of the yard is on a slope, each spring the melting snow washes away sediment and exposes broken bits of glass, earthenware and porcelain. Quite a nightmare when one has dogs. It's a miracle that none of them have been injured by the shards of broken glass.

This square bottle looks like it came from a Victorian apothecary, perhaps filled with the very addictive laudanum.

As soon as the snow starts to melt, I'm like a hawk hunting for bits that could injure my dogs. These were collected over a one-month span. There was much more this spring than last spring, I think it may have had something to do with the very irregular temperatures this past winter.

These shards were stuck under the roots of a tree.

Here is a little piece of porcelain, pastel colours on white background, perhaps from a tea cup or saucer.

Another piece of porcelain, with gold flecks still visible, and a piece of earthenware with a vivid teal blue flower pattern.

Logically, the oldest pieces would be buried the deepest, so most of what I'm finding is probably depression era to pre-Second World War.

This being said, I'm more of a gardener than an archeologist and what I'm finding has no real value except to trigger my imagination with ghostly images of the past. These dishes and glass pieces were used by residents of the Dusty Victorian - and to me, this is rich. But like weeds, they have to be extracted and disposed of for the sake of my dogs.


Mark D. Ruffner said...

A very interesting posting, Anyes. I'm always surprised to realize how late the practice of dumping nearby continued. A number of years ago I toured one of Thomas Edison's labratories and was surprised to hear from a docent that Edison had buried much trash, including broken bottles like yours, right next to the building.

The Dusty Victorian said...

Yes, even if new practices are implemented for the greater good, it's surprising how it takes years for some people to get into the habit. Recycling is an example.
Most people have pretty spring flowers to show off at this time of the year. I'm showing off old garbage, but I'm pleased you enjoyed it.

Mrs. D said...

Hi Anyes,

Love this post about antiques right in your own backyard! I agree the shards could be a serious injury for your sweet dogs. Thanks for the great photos so us curious folks can see what you've found. I hope you find some gold nuggets and jewelry some day too. What a great backyard.

Mrs. D

Laura said...

When we bought the house that we are living in now, the previous owners had basically used the back yard as their own personal dump. (and our home was only built in the late 1960's). When I had a vegetable garden, I was constantly digging up glass and even Styrofoam cups! At the time, we didn't have any pets however, the two oldest boys were quite young so, like you, I had to be quite diligent in cleaning it up. :)


The Dusty Victorian said...

Hello Linda,
Wouldn't it be great to find a real treasure!
Always a pleasure,

Hello Laura,
You certainly understand my worries. A lot of rain is forecast for the next several days so you know I will be out hunting for sharp bits.
Thanks for dropping in,

Curtains In My Tree said...


I found you over on Richard's blog
My Old Historic House

I love the old homes and always wanted one.

I just lost my sweet Pug named Sissy . She died of cancer April 10, 2011

I have resuced pugs and have wondered how they are all doing.
I named one Louis Vuitton after my purse. LOL
his new parents loved him


Anonymous said...


I love reading and keeping up with the Dusty Victorian. I can only imagine what those bottles were used for, but I love the gentle blue colour of that old bottle.

Hope all is well with you, Brian, Astrid and the other family members.


The Dusty Victorian said...

Dear Janice,
I'm so sorry for your loss. I know your heart is heavy with grief. My little black Pug Mink died 5 years ago and I still can"t talk about her without chocking up.
I love the painting you have of the pug on a french chair. It does look like Sissy and I'm sure that it will bring you comfort. Thank you so much for sharing.

The Dusty Victorian said...

Hello Daria,
So nice to hear from you. You have to send me an email with a complete up date on you guys. Glad you enjoyed my antique garbage.

Richard Cottrell said...

You could maybe use them on a bird bath as a mozaic or something. They are your homes past. Richard at My Old Historic house.

The Dusty Victorian said...

Hello Richard,
I've been keeping the most "interesting" pieces in a box, in my basement, but I like your idea a lot - thank you.

Pam of Eastlake Victorian said...

What an interesting, but scary, predicament! It makes sense that such a slope would cause erosion and the unburying of past relics. But glass is not good! I've dug up things in our yard, but it's always of my own doing, as we're pretty flat here.How fascinating to find such things just washing up... hope some money or gold coin cache turns up for you one day!

The Dusty Victorian said...

Hello Pam,
Yes, if we had a flat yard, these things would remain mostly undisturbed. Finding a precious little treasure would be a nice reward for the maintenance of the DV.
You must have enjoyed the Royal Wedding!
Always nice talking to you Pam.