Another Baltimore Digging Story from Chris Rowell


We dug a couple pontiled pits in Baltimore Sunday. No great finds but it was fun. Will be digging a deep Philadelphia pit Wednesday, will forward pics after the dig.

Sundays dig went as follows. We had noticed that this one house had been unoccupied all summer long and the grass in the back yard was about two feet tall, so we decided it might be time to do a bit of yard clean up. This weekend it was Phil, Greg, and myself. We arrived on site about 9:30 and started unloading our equipment. I quickly probed out a small bricklined pit next to a rotting tree stump. The ground is really soft now after all the rain we had over the past few weeks. So digging went very quickly the pit opened up as a small oval shaped brickliner which we were glad to see because oval shaped brickliners are always pontiled age holes in Baltimore. So if they didn’t completely clean this one to the bottom we should get some pontiled stuff.

We got down about 4 and a half feet when the clay and ash mixed fill dirt gave way to a rich dark loamy layer loaded with 1840s and 1850s artifacts. A few damaged pontiled puff type medicines came out along with some nice hand painted marbles and one small pontiled cologne. The heartbreakers from this pit were a half pint open pontiled Corn For The World flask that was smashed. A bright yellow green iron pontiled 3 piece mold Baltimore Glass Works made porter. I took the shards home to glue anyway as its an unlisted color for this mold. And a large aqua Porter embossed on the shoulder C. F. Gobel with its top knocked off. I ended up finding that this bottle is from Zainesville Ohio. It was a long way from home.

While digging the homeowner from next door came out curious what we were doing and we quickly convinced him to let us dig his privy in his parking area. It was packed gravel but wasn’t super well maintained and had quite a bit of grass growing along the edge where the privy should be. a few stabs of the probe found the pit right inline with the one we had just dug. This one took a bit longer to get open due to the packed surface. Once we got it opened up we found it to be a small round brickliner. This pit had quite a bit of brick thrown in the fill, making digging quite a bit slower then the pit next door. But again at about 4 and a half feet the fill gave way to that rich brown loamy layer laden with early artifacts. I quickly uncovered a pontiled Stewart’s Pharmacy Baltimore pontiled medicine, a small redware save jar and a small hand painted cup. Then out came a few pontiled puffs and the remains of a yellow green Baltimore torpedo. Luckily it was just an unembossed example, but the color would have been quite nice. Lots of nice pottery shards for glueing back together and quite a few tobacco pipes. No real heart breakers in this pit but it were still very fun to dig.


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About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has a BFA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. Ferdinand is the founding Principal of FMG Design, a nationally recognized design consultation firm. Ferdinand is a passionate collector of American historical glass specializing in bitters bottles, color runs and related classic figural bottles. He is married to Elizabeth Jane Meyer and lives in Houston, Texas with their daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. The Meyers are also very involved in Quarter Horses, antiques and early United States postage stamps. Ferdinand is the past 6-year President of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors and is one of the founding members of the FOHBC Virtual Museum.
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