Sunday, May 26, 2013

The New Old Cellar Hole

About three weeks ago I took a walk down an old carriage road near a house where I was putting in a patio. The road was well groomed and looked as if it was being used for horses and probably snow-mobiles in the winter. Walking down the wooded trail, flanked on either side by crumbling stone walls, and crossing fast-moving streams on tiny bridges, with not a single modern home in sight, I felt as if I had travelled back in time.
I was waiting for materials to show up at the jobsite and so I couldn't go too far, but before I turned around I spotted a thick patch of strange looking grass in the woods uphill from the trail and I knew immediately what it meant. I checked it out, and sure enough, there was an early nineteenth century cellar hole, with possibly one of the finest looking stone foundations I have ever seen in one. Of course, I didn't have my detector with me and it would be nearly a month before I could find the time to return.

Well, I finally got back there and did a little hunting and I don't know what to think--it's different. There seems to be an unusually large number of signals and nearly all of the diggable items seem to be just an inch or two from the surface. Maybe the tree-cover there is relatively new and was all open field until recently, so the buildup of decomposing forest matter, such as leaves and dead trees, happens very slowly.
My first signal was the little Everlast pocket flashlight, which is dated 1912 on the lid. I am assuming it is a little flashlight. At first, I thought it was a makeup case of some sort, because I thought it said Ever Lady on the lid. After cleaning, however, I could read it correctly and I noticed the tiny filament where the bulb had been and the on/off switch.
Then there was the rusty skeleton key bottle opener and the beautiful little decorative silver heart-shaped bookmark. The ornate floral pattern brass necklace pieces were buried right beside each other amid a number of bricks and must have been part of a larger piece, the rest of which I could not find. I really like the small copper frame, which measures about 4 inches by 3 inches, and which will go to good use when I think of one. The ocular object seems to be the eye-piece to a brass microscope, but there are certainly other possibilities. One of the photos shows our leonine housemate Georges attempting to frighten a squirrel away from the bird feeder, as seen through the still unbroken 150-year-old lens. Also, there were the little copper pieces of advertising tin that say something about "Koch", but we won't go there.
Then came the cannonball. Cannonball? That's right, cannonball. At least I think it's a cannon ball. I don't know what else it could be. It's a big metal ball that weighs about 15-20 pounds. There were definitely problems here with the British in the 1800's and there were certainly cannons and their accompanying balls around. I'm going to post pics with the experts on the Metal Detecting Maine website and see what they say. Those guys and gals can ID anything. I do know one thing--that along with a 5 pound sad iron, a pile of rusty junk, a metal detector, and shovels, a cannonball makes for an unpleasant load to hike out of the woods with.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bed Knobs and Soup Sticks

I have been so busy for the last two weeks that I haven't really had the opportunity to get out with the detector, but I finished a little job over near Hosmer Pond a few days ago and noticed the crumbling remnants of a nineteenth century stone foundation near the jobsite. I had less than 30 minutes till I had to be at my next appointment, so I couldn't spend much time hunting, but I turned up a few interesting items in that time. I do not believe the site has ever been hunted, as in that brief amount of time, I found a few rather large copper objects that surely would have discovered by anyone searching with a machine. The first was a fine copper thimble, the only copper thimble I have ever found, as most of them seem to be aluminum or silver. Also, a large brass bed knob and an interesting old spoon, the age of which I am uncertain. The surface seems to be soft and dull enough to be lead or pewter, but the inside is certainly of ferrous composition and is rusting through in spots. Also, there is a fantastic little floral or leaf or fire design on the rear. I will have to do some research, but in the meantime, it's great for eating cereal...