The last two days we have continued to excavate the four areas of the old stage station. We haven’t found too much in the area of the root cellar that I’m excavating. The highlights so far are an old hobnail boot sole and a whole whiskey bottle. In the picture above the sole is at the end of the trowel I’m holding. Unfortunately the bottle broke as we tried to dig it out of the hard soil. We have now excavated two meter square patches to a depth of almost 3 feet and because we’re not finding much we’ll probably stop excavating in that area.
The other areas are yielding a lot more stuff. The other volunteers have found a marble, part of a skeleton key, patent medicine bottles, beads, a toy hammer head and lots of other stuff. The prize find so far is an epaulette from an army uniform. This is the “shoulder board” decoration that was worn on the shoulder of officers and non-commissioned officers. It was found buried in one of the fireplaces and we don’t have a clue how it got there.
The well area is also providing a lot of interesting artifacts including glass bottles, lots of large bones, elk antlers…and at the very bottom, an old pail and the chain that was attached to the pail. The well was excavated to a depth of about 12 feet when the soil started to get pretty mucky and we decided to stop digging there.
This is hard work and by the time I get back to the RV I’m pretty tired but tired is a small price to pay for this incredible experience. It’s hard to describe the feeling I had when I looked at that epaulette that probably hadn’t seen sunlight in 130 years or more. I’ve spent a lot of time daydreaming about how it got where we found it. Did someone desert the army and intentionally tried to hide the uniform? Did someone buy the uniform to wear because they needed a coat and cut off the epaulette because it served no practical purpose?
Tomorrow a couple of other volunteers and I are going to explore a portion of the old stage road further up in the mountains. We’re bringing metal detectors and hopefully will uncover some interesting things.
I haven’t found out too much more about our cowboy neighbor except that he’s been working in this area for over 35 years. I’m thinking his favorite shirt color is red because as you can see he’s wearing a red shirt in the picture to the right.
Right behind my RV is a clothes line that the cowboy uses to dry his clothes. I couldn’t help but take the picture below for several reasons, one to show you his other red shirt. The other reason ties into my comment in the last post about this place being the heartland of America. Check out his laundry….Red, white and blue. Can you get any more American than that!
Thanks for visiting.