Dump Digging

Dump digging is the practice of locating and excavating old garbage dumps with the intent of discovering objects which have potential value as collectibles or antiques. These dumps are sometimes centuries old but often date to the late 19th century or early part of the 20th century. Among other things, the practice of dump digging is directly linked to antique bottle collecting and glassmaking. It is a form of historical digging which involves long hours working with a shovel, pick and other hand tools. Finding evidence of potential antique bottle dumps or middens is done by searching areas where it is likely that older garbage was deposited. Diggers generally look for clues of pre1920s junk piles in the woods or down embankments, places where old houses or businesses stand or once stood. Hiking along waterways and swampy areas, particularly during droughts, can also produce important clues and lead to good discoveries. Additionally, many coastal cities are surrounded by landfills or “tips”, places where enormous quantities of trash were deposited in the past intended to create additional acres of viable real estate. It can take many months of searching each of these locations for a decent dig to be surface.

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