What I found digging in the backyard

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?
Henry Vilas
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What I found digging in the backyard

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:09 pm

The topography of Madison was originally highlands of hills, ridges and even Indian mounds interspaced with lowlands, often wetland close the lakes, rivers and creeks. Most of the wetlands were filled in, where the working class later built their homes. So too with my Vilas homestead, which occupies a former cattail marsh from a century ago.

This is all preface to my story. Over the last 25 years I have turned over most the top soil in my yard. I knew it had landfill and among the marbles and pieces of tin toys, I once found a 10K gold man's wedding band. It fit. Today was my lastest find, a 1939 Walking Liberty silver half dollar. I googled it for value and found out it's only worth about six bucks, considering its condition.

I've also found various interesting items in the walls while renovating my humble abode, but that's another story.

So has anyone else found treasure while digging in the dirt?

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Re: What I found digging in the backyard

Postby Dust Mite Rodeo » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:38 pm

I found a doll of that cowgirl character from Toy Story 2.

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Re: What I found digging in the backyard

Postby snoqueen » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:47 pm

At my present house, just marbles so far. I think it's on farmland, not an old dump.

At my former place, which was at the edge of an old dump, I found marbles (not glass, but terra-cotta ones), large buckles I think came from horse harnesses, and pieces of broken crockery and old tools.

I also figured out where the outhouse stood. In a corner of the back yard was this little sunken area with a half-foundation at one corner, and in the middle grew the largest raspberry bushes I ever saw in my life.

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Re: What I found digging in the backyard

Postby john_titor » Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:42 pm

When we re-did the garage, there was an old outhouse pit. I remember reading somewhere that some guys would go around excavating outhouse pits and would get a lot of stuff that had dropped down. I never got around to it and it is now paved over.

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Re: What I found digging in the backyard

Postby Galoot » Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:09 pm

Henry, that is a very cool find!

One acquaintance who lives off Fish Hatch found something inside a hardwood log, from a tree that he cut down on his property. Buried well inside the log was a complete Indian arrowhead. I don't remember how many rings he estimated had grown around it, but it was well over 100, but less than 200, IIRC.

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Re: What I found digging in the backyard

Postby Madsci » Sat Sep 18, 2010 7:08 pm

I thought this tread may be about some wild critter digging in your yard. Guess is was just a badger fan finding some cool stuff.

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Re: What I found digging in the backyard

Postby holyghost » Sat Sep 18, 2010 11:22 pm

Over the years, I have found a number of crystals -- probably left over from some of the glaciers. They can be quite beautiful.

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Re: What I found digging in the backyard

Postby green union terrace chair » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:06 pm

Henry, the silver in that silver dollar is worth at least $7.50, so your coin ought to have a bit higher value that that. Yeah, it's no Spanish gold doubloon, but still a cool find!

During one swim at Vilas Beach I once found a milk bottle from a Madison dairy and a Fauerbach bottle, both complete and whole.

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