Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine, spring 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 93 of 243

he sea has always been a mystery. From its garden-green under- water world, it deems which treasures to hold back and which to disperse at its will. Nature gives up the outer armor of sea life, known to us as seashells, while man has been the source of the jewels of the sea known as beach glass. The abundance of sea glass comes from over a century of dumping bottles in coastal dump sites as far back as the Victorian era. Crashing against the rocks, shattering into small pieces, then tossed and sanded smooth by the churning sea, these glass shards finds their way back to civ- ilization and into the buckets of beach-combing collectors. As a forager at hear t combing the beaches of Mendocino, I once spot- ted something larger than usual sitting among the ocean gravel and sea- weed. It was a tumbled aqua glass piece that turned out to be a stopper from an old bottle. Years later, it was revealed that there had been an old dump site on the northern part of town that produced a never-ending abundance of glass washing up on a beach in Fort Bragg, aptly named Glass Beach. Not only do collectors find an occasional glass bottle stopper at the seashore, but a group of treasure seekers from all across the States have a very unique way of uncovering glass fragments and bottles. It's called privy digging or dump digging; a process of locating and excavating defunct, centuries old, outhouse vaults and garbage dumps with the purpose of sal- vaging old bottles, glass and valuable found objects. The diggers first look for indentations in the ground and old outhouse foundations. By probing the soil, they can learn how old the site is. Some digs have produced dozens of bottles; the oldest found predates the 92 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • W I N T E R 2 0 1 8 COLLECTING T E X T A N D P H OTO G R A P H Y B Y M A R J O R I E S N O W Antique Bottle Stoppers T A collection of clear glass bottle stoppers, used primarily for toiletry, perfume and cologne bottles, as indicated by their ground and peg shanks. Circa 1800s to early 1900s.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Carmel Magazine - Carmel Magazine, spring 2018