Garden bottle pits

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kenleyboy
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Garden bottle pits

Post by kenleyboy » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:07 pm

I recently managed to find two bottle pits in my garden , both were about 4 feet square and dug out at 2 feet down and were just a couple of feet apart . The cottage dates back to 1910 and out of the two pits I managed to retrieve 28 bottles and jars mostly dating from the 1920s to 1930s .
There is nothing earlier except for one really nice green poison bottle and the most colourful bottle was a blue milk of magnesia , my spade missed hitting this by 1/2 an inch !
Both pits were found by accident while digging the garden over . Amongst the bottles were remains of old rusty tins , a saucepan and some old cutlery .
There are no other pits and previous owners had an extension so I can only imagine that if there were more possible pits they are now under the foundations .The base of the pits were clay and recently I have also unearthed a few old shards of stoneware and from makers name can date them to around 1890 , all broken unfortunately but interesting .
Thinking further about the two pits I found , is it possible that the clay base is a clay cap ? I just wonder if these old pits went any deeper , were capped and then filled up again until full then filled with top soil and left to grass over .
My other thoughts are that they were just a series of pits dug down to the clay base and once full , filled in and then another was dug but it seems pretty pointless to be so shallow as they would not have taken long to fill up being only two feet down .
I am quite prepared to dig them back out again but wondering if I am wasting my time .
Any thoughts from more experienced bottle diggers would be most welcome and thanks in advance .

jcmaloney
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Re: Garden bottle pits

Post by jcmaloney » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:29 am

Have you got a rod? Could push it through the "cap" and listen? ::g

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Saffron
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Re: Garden bottle pits

Post by Saffron » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:49 am

I am NOT a bottle digger but my thought would be that they were just a dug down to the clay base and that the person making them realised that digging clay was harder work so stopped at the clay, then as you say being so shallow it would not have taken long to fill up so he made another near he first.

But if that shallow could be worth you digging them back out again if only to confirm you have not missed anything deeper. Or as jcmaloney says try using a rod to prod the ground, if there is anything below a clay cap you would detect it and probing around with a rod is easier than digging clay ;)

Evan

kenleyboy
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Re: Garden bottle pits

Post by kenleyboy » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:17 pm

jcmaloney and saffron ,

thank you both for your positive responses . I think a probe rod may be the better option rather than trying to dig through the clay .Digging the pits back out is not a problem being so shallow and when I say garden , it is more of a piece of rough ground at the side of the house awaiting some attention .
The bottles are quite a nice find despite not being very early except for the poison bottle and a smaller cork top , rest are screw cap .
I came across the shards of stoneware further along while digging a hole for a fence post , I hit the clay bed and then started to unearth quite large but broken shards so it got me thinking about the pits .
Once again ,

many thanks for your help .

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Re: Garden bottle pits

Post by jcmaloney » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:04 pm

Can get a decent length 10mm sprung steel bar for under £20 then (if you know the right folk!) can get a T handle fitted and a tip made. Some folk have a "notch" cut in the side to lift things like ash as you "screw" the bar down the hole.

PS: I`m no bottle digger.....but several club members are who know their codds & slabs! lol

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