How long r u gonna Alfred Hitchcock us about the mystery boxes ?
Well , beneath the surface we found several items of interest.
1. Buried crocks that were reportedly a popular way of pickling cabbages and other veggies.These crocks were of a salt glazed low fire red-ware type, so they were probably made in the immediate area, as redware is very fragile. The pieces we found were broken save one which was in pristine condition.
2. Some masses of broken porcelain pottery and several pieces of pewter ware and cutlery. The pewter was very pitted because it was merely wrapped in a broadcloth when buried.
3. We found a bag of english pennies and six spanish escudos. (It was common, in colonial times to hoard "real" money , as the various colonies had no standard for cash. They used scrip and letters of credit and other "in kind" means of trade. Those folks who had "Real" money, would hoard it for use reserved for really big purchases, like land and horses.
4. The real items of interest were clothing buttons made of bone and stone. Several brass buttons were all oxidized through and fell apart.The bone and horn and stone buttons were all handcrafted rather finely and my wife has made a dwsiplay of these and several others we found in other places of the house and barns
5.There was a box of about 30 or more "arrowheads" probably some farmer found them while clearing his land.
6.The weirdest thing was, and I am not kidding, a skeleton of a mans left leg and foot (all attached and buried in a box that was lined with a broadcloth).
We immediately called the museum commission and the leg was toted off to the state lab. (The cops came to visit me as it was not determined that this was NOT a crime scene. They were going to do further excavation and I hadda get my attorney involved with an estoppel so the cops werent gonna feel free to rip up my house in their zeal to find the rest of the body that they asserted was still in the house.(nothin worse than ignorant fanaticism)It was later determined that the leg was amputated because there was a severe wound to the heel bones that probably was a bullet wound. SInce the house was constructed in 1763, any wounds could have happened in the several campaigns that Pennsylvanians were involved in before and during the Revolution. The museum commission had attempted to do mDNA on the bones but much oif the nuclear material had been leached and broken down and convereted to nitrogenous compounds . They did send the sample elsewhere (about 20 years ago) and Ive never heard anything back (technically, I havent shown much interest in actually retrieving the leg). The exact circumstances of the event that resulted in thi guy losing his leg are, of course, a continuing mystery and a great story that surrounds the many stories weve found in this house. I have, with the aid of my old black and white photos of the leg (in and ex situ) able to conjur a story of
A...The relationship of the leg to a little known battle that resulted from the killingof the "last of the Conestoga Indians" in Lancaster by a group called "The PAxton Boys"
B.... Some brigands and roaming bands of pirates of the upper Chesapeake BAy, Chester and Berks County (Pa) named The "Buzzard Brothers"
C....Since our place is right near the path that Gen Howe had marched his troops from the "head of Elk" to Brandywine to confront Washington at the BAttle of Brandywine and there are reports of guerilla tactics used on Howes lines by colonials of the little known company of Delaware and Chester County Vols. ( If this is only a myth it oughta be true).
I like the "PAxton Boys" connection the best.
They did a C14 and flourine comparative testing on the leg and found it to be greater than 200 yers old +/- 32 yr. . That puts the window for the disarticulation from about 1746 to 1810 (That was enough to get rid of the cops).
The museum guys were going to do an article for the Museum journal but it never came to be , mostly because of the failed DNA . (More often DNA isnt that cut and dried in determining linneages. The reports of genomics is more often loaded with errors so that what we get reported is highly speculative and contamination is rife.(IMHO). .
7...In addition, we found over fifty horse shoes, and hundreds of cut nails that were stored like precious metal. There was , in a back cubbyhole, several sections of ox tack and a double oxen yoke made of heavy beech.
8. Fially,There were several lead shot caches in small metal (tin)boxes. The lead was all white and oxidized. but they were a serious calibre. (The Martin Mylin gunshop was only about 20 miles to the north and he was a famous crafter of Pennsylvania long rifles. (wish I woulda found one of them but no luck.
9.AND,finally, somebody buried a dog in the basement. It had a license on a collar on the skeleton so this was probably in the early 1900's (WHy the hell anyone would bury bodies in the basement just escapes me. We reinterred the dog in our own pet graveyard out in the pasture(my wife didnt want to dishonor the doggies "spirit") so we had a ceremony with the kids and us and my buddy and his wife and kids. Then , I believe we barbecued a pig haunch.