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Digging a Cistern

flint_illustrator

Well-Known Member
Dec 16, 2014
74
8
I'm thinking about digging cistern and wanted people's opinions on digging one. The house that use to be there was on the 1889 map. Not sure when they got the water system for the town but have you all add good luck digging cisterns?

Just curious. Thanks!!!
 

nhpharm

Well-Known Member
Apr 24, 2007
2,160
83
Cisterns can be hit or miss. I've dug a number of them and you can usually get a good idea by probing them. Any idea how big it is? On the big ones, any trash that is in them tends to be on one side. They can be a real project to dig with water and so forth so be prepared. The ones I have dug in Galveston are typically 12-20' wide and 6-7' deep. If they have trash it is usually 1910-1920 stuff...found some neat stuff in them over the years.
 

sunrunner

Well-Known Member
Aug 10, 2007
2,111
38
I have found that the age of the cisterns end in most towns in the mid 1920s . so if ,and that's a big IF there is any thing in there , it will be late . 1930s ,40s .
 

hemihampton

Well-Known Member
Oct 6, 2006
6,242
113
I know of 3 or 4 Cisterns I want to dig but never have, mainly because the guys I dig with have little interest in them. I don't mind if they are full of 1930's or 40's garbage, as long as they are full of cone top Beer Cans thats fine with me, or ACL soda bottles or Milk Bottles. LEON.
 

westKYdigger

Well-Known Member
Sep 20, 2011
164
18
West Kentucky
Usually, cisterns in towns were used until the town got water lines to the houses. They were then either collapsed or filled in with garbage & debris. Check your town's history to find out when your area got water. No one would deliberately throw anything into their water supply, so anything in the cistern would be dated after they got water to the house. Also, waterlines to the houses could have been laid several years before sewer lines.
 

seaeo1

Member
Aug 18, 2017
6
3
Cistern digging

I’ve dug several in Brooklyn and Ling Island New York. Had some great finds in the 1860-1890 era botttes. Dug one that was so dry and filled with ash that many of the paper and painted labels survived!!!!
Good luck!
 

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