Some years ago, I volunteered to clean archeological remnants that had been uncovered during the extensions to our local art gallery, MAMA. Every broken pottery piece or metal item that was unearthed had to be carefully cleaned and catalogued because it represented a glimpse into our history.
Discovering that one generation’s discarded items are a later generation’s history lesson made me wonder what secrets my own back yard might yield.
#96 Uncover Historic Secrets in your Own Back Yard
In this venture, I was helped immeasurably by the chickens who scratched around and inspected every square inch of soil, every waking hour, with forensic detail. Pretty soon, I was picking up small archeological scraps daily, wondering how I could have lived there for twenty-five years and not noticed the veritable treasure trove at my feet.
So I washed and dried every small discovery and carefully stored them all in a pottery dish protected with glass.
When the archeologist involved in the MAMA dig returned recently to our LibraryMuseum to tell us about her work and share the fascinating history the items revealed, I asked her about my own small finds.
She shook her head.
Of very little interest, she suggested gently. To anyone.
I might have guessed.
… sigh …
But it was still fun to sort through the detritus of a past age in my little quarter-acre block and see what it revealed.
One of my favourites was the old metal soldier with no head and badly damaged legs:
I imagined some little boy playing with him for hours and being heartbroken when he was lost.
Then there were a few loose marbles found separately over several months. Did these roll away from my imaginary friend as well?
A glass stopper was eventually reunited with its bottle neck:
and there was the usual assortment of patterned crockery chips:
But the most exciting find was a 1910 ha’penny with King Edward VII’s profile on it:
I wonder what a 1910 ha’penny would be worth now, taking into account inflation?
But all these trivial bits and bobs from the past were trumped during a recent visit to my sister’s back yard in Sydney’s inner west.
For there, in all their prehistoric beauty, were what could only be described as dinosaurs.
I give you:
TWO brush turkeys.
Just hanging around an inner suburban back yard as though they belonged.
Beats chipped crockery any day.
Well I think your collection is VERY exciting. The soldier looks completely kosher to me, reminiscent of the Chinese underground army – maybe there really WAS a previous civilisation here before the Europeans – well…if you can call military hoards “civilisation”. The marbles are very pretty and you did wonders cleaning and arranging all the pieces of china.
Glad you enjoyed the read, Katherine.
The toy soldier was a weighty little find. I’m hoping the legs will turn up one day…