Have you ever heard of a “dumpdigger?” I hadn’t until I came across this picture on Wikimedia Commons.
Dumpdiggers use antique maps and other historical records to locate very old properties and then systematically search the land for old garbage dumps using metal detectors and shovels. They find things like early American pottery, antique glass bottles and stoneware, saloon pipes and porcelain dolls heads, civil war relics and British Navy relics, military collectibles, coins, toys and tools.
Many times while motorcycling around the countryside, my husband and I would stop at old, abandoned farmsteads or derelict barns. I couldn’t help but wonder about the people who had lived in them, what their lives had been like, and what happened to make them abandon what once was a worthy abode. Every now and then the neck of an old cork bottle would catch my eye from its burial spot in the dirt or under the tangled overgrowth of weeds. I once found one that said “The Great Dr. Kilmer’s Swamp Root Liver Kidney & Bladder Remedy” in the aquamarine embossed glass. I still have that bottle among the many other abandoned treasures we’ve unearthed over the years such as silver utensils, marbles, thimbles, advertising tins, antique hand tools, drinking vessels, dishes, etc.
I didn’t know there was a name for people like us, but I guess we are and always will be Dumpdiggers at heart. 🙂