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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Our Amazing Archaeological Find

IMG_2648My son and I were out in the wilds of farm country performing an archaeological survey.  Historically, the site linked to a famous early American, along with important buildings, now long gone. 

The survey involved digging test units, small, precisely-measured squares at 50-foot intervals in this case.  An archaeological survey can help professionals know if they are digging in the right area.  TheIMG_2625 thinking behind it is that if a feature, such as a building wall, or some artifacts, such as pottery sherds, are found in a location, that may be the place to excavate further.

Digging in the rain, not to mention hard clay, was challenging indeed.  I stuck with the paperwork times four:  record sheets on my clipboard, brown paper artifact bags properly labelled, an artifact tag inside the bag listing the shovel test unit (STU), layer IMG_2644of stratigraphy and date, along with the same notes in my field notebook.  Petya focused on the manual labor.

I was eternally grateful.

Wherever the surveyors placed a flag, we came behind to excavate there.  Once, a flag was moved for certain logistical reasons, but the old flag was not picked up.  My son IMG_2645and I did not receive the memo on that one and we started to dig.

The chief archaeologist on the site spotted us and explained that we were in the wrong location.

“But, you know what?  Just go ahead and finish up the unit.  There’s no way you could have known that we had shifted the test pit.”

photo 1 Petya threw shovel after shovel of bright red earth on top of my screen.  We had to sift every bit of soil, no matter how hard and chunky the clay might be.

Then, in the middle of our morning at the site, a face peered up at me from the screen full of dirt: 

“Carolus III”.


It looked like George Washington in profile.  Maybe someone had dropped a decorative button?

No – wait—the date was—1780-!  And the coin was a Spanish real in mint photo 2condition.  Very rare to not see any extreme wear or tear, and of course, many of these coins were cut up to give “change” whenever needed.  It was whole, and it was in great condition.

We took it over to the pros who informed us how rare it was to find such a well-preserved coin from over 230 years ago.

That was our five minutes of fame, when we were the toast of the shovel test units way out in our remote locale.  All of the mud, rain, and wind was worth it.


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4 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Karen says:

    That is fairly remarkable! Your previous archaeological posts on the treasure hunters are probably why no exact location is mentioned. 🙂 Congrats and thank you for letting us in on the excitement.

    • avatar admin says:

      You’re right, Karen, they don’t like us to be too specific. I found it hard to believe, myself, until everyone else started gathering around to ooh and ahh-!

  2. avatar SML says:

    Congratulations on your find! Mighty rare, indeed, not to have been cut into pieces! Seek and ye shall find!

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