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vll970

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So I am almost ready to give up. I have been quietly reading the forum for months. I even asked the typical newbie questions about how you go about finding privies. I read books on bottles, on outhouse design, historical books about the area I live in, looked at Sanborn maps and...NOTHING. I have a tiny collection that mostly came from yard sales and a few good friends. I can't find a single place to dig, privy or dump. I spoke to old people who did some serious digging here back in their day, one even took me to the supposed location of an old bottle dump. And....still NOTHING. How on earth do you find all these privies?! Some guy here said he had already dug more than 300! 300...300.. it's not fare I can't even find one. I can't be leaving in an area where people didn't have to go to the bathroom...:(((
 

rlo

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do you live in politician land? ya know they don't need privies! goodness, where do you live?
 

appliedlips

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I second that.If you are looking for privies to country homes or in tiny towns with big lots,give it up..Put on your Sunday best and head to the Big City,find an old house,probe the property lines and start digging.
 

tigue710

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it takes time, as with anything. You have to do the work. Keep at it and you'll find something. Or call it quits if you dont want to. None of us find magic bottle holes, we put hours upon hours of work and research into digging a few lonely bottles, and then half time we dont find anything good. Some go years with out a good find. Its more about enjoying what you learn along the way then bottles... all though bottles are the ultimate goal...

Talk to that old timer more, have him show how and what to look for, how to dig. I've seen people dig holes all over the place and miss all the bottles completely. You need experience and a little help if you can find it!
 

vll970

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Thanks to everyone who responded. I certainly didn't just expect to walk by a house and get an invitation . That's why I said I had spent a great amount of time reading and researching. I looked at very old photographs, maps etc. There is a fair amount of really old houses here but no one seems to be very receptive to me shredding their perfectly manicured lawn/ landscaping. I live on the island of Martha's Vineyard and let me tell you rich people do not like when you try to explore their properties. The old timer I was talking about told me that there were a lot of bottle dumps but I am yet to find one. I don't want to quit, I was just wondering how some of you guys find sooo many. If I find one this year I would be ecstatic. Probing also proved to be very difficult, soil is nothing but roots and rocks... The whole place is like it came out of a Robert Frost poem..
Anyway, thank you all. I'll keep trying.
 

madpaddla

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Hitting the hay here. But here are a couple ideas for you to think about.

Why do we find so many? Simple.....regarding bottles...where there are a few there must be more. People liked to throw away stuff (duump) in the same area over extended amounts of time. My first fump I found out about from someone I work with, she is about 50 now. I asked her where she dumped garbage in the 40's. About 1/4 mile down was where they dumped in the 1890's.

Check Sanborn Maps. Check the forum for the name and password. They should have some great great maps for ya. And dont look where there are buildings......look where there arent. Regarding on the old maps.

Best of luck ill check the post in the next few days. Last thing for ya. I have a theory that when we are looking for bottles is when our sense of glass is most involved. After you find a dump and there are bottles almost anywhere your senses diminish. Buts its when you are starving for glass is when you senses are kennest.
Madpaddla
 

Poeticallyinsane

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I've given up looking for old privies and what not. I've had no luck with those either. You could try what I've been doing...stick to big empty lots or wide open fields. I've found 88 bottles (its a small collection compared to most) in a large field by just wandering around and shoving dirt around with my shoes when I find piles of broken glass and if I find that there is broken glass beneath the surface, that's when I bust out my shovel. Dont give up just yet. You'll never know what you might have found if you dont try again...and again...and again...
 

Plumbata

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And dont look where there are buildings......look where there arent. Regarding on the old maps.

Best of luck ill check the post in the next few days. Last thing for ya. I have a theory that when we are looking for bottles is when our sense of glass is most involved. After you find a dump and there are bottles almost anywhere your senses diminish. Buts its when you are starving for glass is when you senses are kennest.
Madpaddla

Quite true, for a beginner like me or you vll970, the presently extant structures tend to grab one's attention first, but after looking at enough obsolete street maps, topographic maps, old plat maps, and the always useful sanborns then you will start to see houses, people, roads and perhaps whole communities where there is nothing but nature showing now (cross reference with google earth, it is indespensable). The empty lots and old abandoned homesteads are your most likely bet for finding undug privys as well as the permission to dig them, since the more conspicuous properties were more likely to have been dug out by the old timers you spoke with back in the day and are more than likely to be owned by uptight blockheads now. Perhaps you can develop a spiel involving a dedicated anthropological perspective, and make the people feel personally responsible for helping you to preserve a quickly vanishing American history. Some people are tough, but enough grease of the right kind should do the trick. [;)]

vll970, if you are interested in digging dumps and never have done so before, then as a mere 20 year old I can say that finding dumps is easier than just about anything else. You have to be willing to cover lots of ground without expecting to come home at the end of the day with anything amazing, rather, calibrate yourself to just look for disturbed land, look for ravines, railroad land, look in the back of graveyards, by old bridges/docks, in and along streams, by rivers, stone piles, unusual stands of trees in the middle of town, or anywhere else that for some reason or another would never be used for building and legitimate use, or hasn't been, at least within the past 150 years. Look in old maps for vanished roads that lead to nowhere, or went by creeks or depressions, and investigate the area's appearance now. With the discovery of small shards of any antiquated consumer good, far larger truths are transferred. For every shard there was a whole bottle, and for every complete bottle you see there were probably 20 others tossed out with it. Keep in mind that the surface of the ground is for all intents and purposes a flat plane, so it follows that even in a mere 1 inch under the surface of a given area there is a great deal of room for things to be hidden. 6 feet down and you can find yourself in an entirely different world.

Just today, I discovered a huge dumpsite with no cap layer, far larger than the one I wrote my post about, here in Champaign where the only other dump i found was from the 40s, and not because I wasnt looking for dumps either. This town is flat as hell, and home to UIUC, which caused an explosion of development that has covered up alot of the good digging areas. The stuff on top of this dump was pre-prohibition. Pieces of SS cokes, ancient milks, slugplated beers and sodas, large crockery jugs and much more were everywhere. In some parts, i was walking on top of almost pure glass and pottery, indicating to me that it was a bottle dumpsite with ash tossed in, rather than an ash dump with bottles intermixed. I have reason to believe, based on studying my maps, that it may have been used since the 1870s, and may be one of the first and best town dumps. I didn't go out with a shovel, just my eyes, and I came back with alot more than just a stupid bottle. I found an acre of them, and though i didnt dig, based on what I have experienced I know it is probably the best dump I have right now. Just know that you can find the bottles that we all love if you cover enough ground and keep in mind the general things one should look out for while ya do so.

Keep your eyes open and you will find what you want, and ive said it a hundred times, but no amount of watching what others are digging, no amount of thinking about it or getting jealous, will replace the rewards of just going out and looking for yourself. Don't despair; dig. You don't need to find bottles to be successful, because every hole you dig is a different learning experience. At least you will know what general areas are not good to dig. Sooner or later you will find some really good glass, if you don't give up beforehand.

And madpaddla, your theory is interesting, but based on how I interpret it, I can't quite agree exactly. Finding the first dumpsite, and then every one thereafter only serves to hone and temper one's "glass sense." If you are starving, but don't know how to hunt or even what it is you are hunting for, then no amount of emaciated anguish alone will be enough to show you the way to your satisfaction. It is experience (or the pure absorbtion of others' experiences), and though the sense will not need to be turned on full blast while you are in the midst of a dump, it certainly does help when trying to look into the past and see how they dumped that stuff, and where the oldest areas are, etc. Then, after excercizing ones mind in a place of such glassy abundance, one will be able to go elsewhere and use the implications of the envoronmental cues that you never even percieved before to your own bottle diggin' benefit.
 

Plumbata

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Also, if no one saw you disobey the "No Trespassing" sign, did it ever really happen? [;)] [:D]

[edit] I was wondering, are there people here in enough numbers to make it worth my time that actually have the patience (or active vocabulary) to read, care about, and perhaps respond in kind to my more lengthy messages, or should i keep things, uhh... short and sweet?

I'm still new to this, so let me know how is best to communicate with the archetypical bottle digger.

More pictures, less talk?
 

deepbluedigger

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I was wondering, are there people here in enough numbers to make it worth my time that actually have the patience (or active vocabulary) to read, care about, and perhaps respond in kind to my more lengthy messages, or should i keep things, uhh... short and sweet?

I'm still new to this, so let me know how is best to communicate with the archetypical bottle digger.

More pictures, less talk?

Keep it coming. I kinda liked your take on bottle hunting. I've been doing it for 30+ years and (i) pretty much agree with everything you said, but you said it better than I would have done and (ii) wish I could find a whole acre of bottle dump with some good age to it!

It takes time and patience and legwork, and sometimes a little bit of luck, but interesting finds always happen in the end. My digging partner and I are currently digging a small site that I've been looking for for the past 15 years (and yes, it was definitely worth the wait!). So don't be ready to give up too easily vll970: hang in there.

Pictures are also good though. [:D]
 

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