We have received numerous requests for
more information on where and how to dig, no Antique Bottles website would
be complete without this information.
This section of the website is dedicated
to dumps and digging. It will include hints and tips for the beginner,
what to take with you, how to dig and of course, where to dig.
There will also be input from Gerard de Kamper, a Pretoria
collector and professional archaeologist.
There are only five ways of acquiring
- 1. buying,
- 2. swapping,
- 3. inheriting,
- 4. stealing
- 5. DIGGING
I was recently ( 12 -14 December 2003) invited to join Wade Kidwell
and Marcus Schroen for a most interesting and fruitful dig in Kwazulu
Natal. The site is massive, probably twice the area of a rugby field
with a small, fast flowing stream acting as an automatic bottle cleaning
mechanism and washing away the spoil as you dig. None of us found very
much but I was particularly lucky to dig (in 4 seperate pieces each
1 hour apart) a Meldrums champaigne
blob top (No. 300)
as well as a Lyons Tea double sided enamelled sign (my second ever)
in 8/10 condition. Wade is an enamel sign freak so I siezed the opportuinity
to swap him for a Goodliff (No. 188) ginger beer which had been dug
in Durban. A friend of Marcus (Bob I think his anme was) dug a W. H.
Ash ginger beer within minutes of arriving at the dump and this will
hopefully enthuse him to start a serious collection.
Antique Bottles.co.za accepts
no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action or incident/s brought
about by the irresponsible behavior of anyone acting upon the
--- THE LAW ---
What follows is an article kindly
submitted by Gerard de Kamper, a relative new-comer to the scene
who recently bought the Nick Wellman Collection of ginger beers
and who is a professional archaeologist.
and the Law
The following dumps will be discussed
and their locations can be made available to interested parties
upon request. Certain dumps will become the subject of a picture presentation (this is something new which we are trying, so please bear with us). If a dump has an icon next to it, simply click and enjoy!
The Army Dump
- Boksburg (1)
- Boksburg (2)
- Brumah Lake
- Cape Town
- C.J. Langenhoven
- Durban Deep
- Forest Hill
- @ Kamfers Dam
- King Williams Town
- Orange Grove
These dumps or "middens" as is the
correct terminology, are named primarily after their nearest suburb,
town, settlement or landmark.
As time unfolds you will learn more about them. Please do not be impatient,
remember... the longer you wait, the older the bottles become.
Please let us know if you know of any dumps / digging sites earlier
than 1925 which are not mentioned above.
Please be carefull to indicate your return e-mail address correctly.
We are receiving e-mails to which we cannot respond because of incorrect
A bad day's digging is better than a good day's
Below are some hints and tips on what and what not to do.
The 10 things that always / never happen have not been completed and we welcome your suggestions based on your pleasant or unpleasant personal experiences. Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
10 Hints & Tips for beginners (and
maybe even experts).
- Never dig alone. It is
a sad fact of life in our country that virtually all of our dumps are
either on the outskirts of town or on the edge of an informal settlement
where help may not be forthcoming.
- Never leave a hole open unless you are absoulutely certain that you
can return the next day to bottom and fill in.
- Get into the habit of keeping a diary / record of your finds, taking
photographs and marking (with stickers) dates & locations on the
more memorable items.
- Do not smash unwanted bottles nor leave shards lying around. Throw
whatever you are not taking home back into the hole before filling in.
- Keep fragments / shards of scarcer items. A rare repaired pot-lid
in my collection was dug in two "installments".
- When digging in dumps deeper than 2m, dig circular rather than square
holes. These allow for safer and deeper under-cutting and thereby, a
better recovery rate.
- Do not try to loosen too much ash with your fork before cleaning out the hole. Never loosen more than 1 fork depth.
- Keep a basic first-aid kit handy. Eye-drops, Savlon, Band-aids, Disprin,
cotton wool and Mercurichrome.
- Drink plenty of liquids even in winter. On a single day's dig during
December in Kimberley I drank 9 litres of water. 2l Coke bottles filled
with water placed in the deep freeze the night before can be a life-saver.
- Report any exciting finds, in strictest confidence to www.antiquebottles.co.za.
10 things that always happen.
- You have stumbled across a dump that nobody knows about. Youre first dig is a tremendous success. The next time you go there the whole place is full of dug holes and the dump is exhausted.
- You tell a close friend about a dump you have discovered and swear him to secrecy. He tells only one other friend who tells only two other friends who tell only three other friends... Get the picture? (Refer to point 1)
- You dig half of an ultra rare coloured potlid, throw it away in disgust and the next weekend you find the other half but cannot find the first half which you threw away.
- Especially true of Ginger Beers and coloured lipped Codds, if the bottle is lying with its mouth facing you in the hole, the amount of time you take in cleaning around it and digging it out is directly proportional to the likelyhood of it having no back or bottom.
- The further you travel to go for a dig, the greater the likelyhood of your forgotten something really important like your fork or wallet.
10 Things that never happen.
- The lead you have followed up on, after having been told of a place where blue-lipped hybrid Codds are lying around on top of an old dump, actually turns out to be quite true.
- The old guy who phones you and says he has a big box of really old bottles, some of them say Ginger Beer and some flat lid type objects which say toothpaste has not sold them for next to nothing to someone who arrived a couple of days before you, because you were just too busy to attend to it immeaditely.