Digging Up The Past Can Be Exciting
Working in a school that was built by hand over a 100 years ago certainly has its perks, and I guess you can say that every day at fork for me is almost an adventure in its own right.
What I am about to show you definitely did not stem from a conventional treasure hunt, if fact it really started off as a pile of shit... literally.
You see we were in the process of building new septic tanks for the school, and as such we had to dig up quite a great deal of soil to place the underground septic tanks, soak away pit as well as all the piping.
The trenches alone was over 50 meters long and at some stages they dove down as deep as 3 meters as we meandered the way for the pipes to connect into the space where the septic tanks would be installed at the bottom of a slight bank where the earth was flattened out somewhat. In short tons of soil was unearthed and along with it some very interesting items. Some of the things that we uncovered was clearly identifiable, but others remain a mystery for now, who knows, maybe someone reading this will be able to give a more educated guess as to their original purpose or use.
Just above, you can see one of the items that was dug out of the ground, despite its rusted surface, it still looks in pretty good condition and appears to be an old valve spanner. You can see that the item was hand forged which simply reminds me of how old this item must be.
Sadly I did not have the measuring tape close by when I took this picture, nor a scale, but if I'd have to guess I would say that this spanner is approximately 60 cm's (that is about 24 Inches)and weighs a few kilograms.
And YES I do have reasonably big hands LOL...
One of the other things that we unearthed was this strange thinga-me-bob.
At first, I thought it was simply an old piece of water pipe with a boller-stop valve lever at the top of it. But only once I looked at the item a bit closer did I realise that it was something different all together. First of all, the weight of the item when I picked it up was not that of an old water pipe, not even one that might have filled up with sand over time. It was surprisingly heavy. And on closer inspection, I noticed that the bottom of this item had been worked off into the shape that you'd come to expect of a chisel tip. This item was found reasonably deep under the surface of the earth, and had accumulated quite a bit of rust, so it is hard to tell for sure what exactly it is, but for some or other reason, this item managed to keep my attention. I am almost hoping that someone reading, this will lighten my curiosity with a more accurate guess of what this might have been.
But, moving straight ahead to the next fascinating find now, and one that I can identify for sure:
I mean, how could this possibly be anything other than an authentic vampire stake... right? I mean I am at least 2.587% convinced it is, I mean take away the fact that silver would not rust like this and all that.
All I actually do know is that this is a very thick heavy metal spike of some sorts, this is very clear when you look at the side view photo above (that's the one on the far right) and I also know that this piece of strange metal has a sharp, pointy stabby side, and another side that has holes on a slightly flattened section, and then of course the part between the two above mentioned sections... Maybe a sewing needle from a giants castle?
Well lets hope someone out there has some better guesses, but until then, I will be sticking to mine.
Guess I went off the beaten track of realism there ever so slightly - but let's get back to the next item nonetheless
I am not exactly sure why ancient keys fascinate me so much, it might be because the make me wonder what doors they might have opened in the past and what they could have possibly led to, or maybe it is simply just the wonder of hose hands such a key could have touched during its functional lifetime, but whatever the true nature of mental fascination might be for me, it is safe to say that, I like them... which is why I literally tripled in one place in excitement when I came across this one.
It might just be a skeleton key, that probably holds minimal monetary value, but at the end of the day, it was a really fun find.
But what really took the skin off the bone, was the next few finds:
I know that they might not be an absolutely exclusive archaeological find, but I must admit that it prickled my curiosity due to the fact that this after all, has been a school for way over a hundred years, and this isn't exactly something you'd expect to find in a schoolyard...
As a farm girl, seeing animal bones is certainly nothing new to me, we would often slaughter animals on the farm for home use, and even in the bushveld while out walking, it is not uncommon to come across the carcass of a dead animal. So at first sight this was really nothing strange, but then I looked a bit closer, this was not an animal that died of natural causes, there were definite hack marks on the bones (see specifically the second picture above),and at the same time it didnt look like these bones had been worked through a meat saw - even an ancient one (see the last picture above) but then something else tickled my creative bone, and that was the size of the bones - they just didnt look right, it was way too small to be from a domestic cattle, and some of them seemed slightly too big to be from something like a goat or a sheep, so what was it? Worst is the bone that somewhat resembled a pelvic bone was really small, smaller than that of a sheep, in fact it looked more like something from a tiny dog, or worse a baby... could this be the bony grave of more than one animal/human - but I stopped my imagination from running too far, and as much as I would have loved to dig deeper and find the rest, I reminded myself that I had a job to do.
This jaw bone fragment with one tooth still in tact, helped assure me that there was definitely an animal involved - herbivore, maybe sheep or goat... and I left it at that.
But then again, why is a dead animal in the schoolyard???
There were quite a few other finds, but they were dug up from the shallow earth and not all of them looked as peculiar or as old as the others. But the one that was slightly a grey area was this hammer head, it did not look quite as old as the previously displayed items, but it also didn't exactly look as new as some of the other more shallow finds during our dig.
But it did have a really cool stamp in the metal that I just couldn't quite make out, so I decided to put it one side for future reference just in case.