First brush

Turns out I don’t have to go trekking to the hinterlands to dig for artefacts after all. Yesterday evening, while digging a small ditch in our yard to place a doorframe for our chicken coop, my partner hit something with his shovel.

The cool thing was, it looked not unlike the hilt of a sword.


Of course this was exciting and fitting with everything else I’ve been going on about. Maybe it was prophetic. I had visions of pulling it out of the ground, whereupon it would symbolise the fulfilment of destiny, like an Australian, modern-day, budget-version of King Arthur.

I’d never guessed I would be doing something archaeological where we regularly feed the chickens.

There were a few things which occurred that would not be permissible at a true excavation site:

• the partner purposely whacked the artefact with a hammer, which bent it,

• we started forcefully stabbing at the ground around it with large garden poles, trying to loosen the soil,

• there were chickens running around probably wondering what the heck we were doing, and

• as I scraped away at the dirt and wildly fantasised about it being the tip of an iceberg and how it was probably attached to an enormous machine beneath our feet, the partner abandoned duty and ran away to paint, of all things.

(To be fair he went to work on the chicken coop door. As in, actually completing the task we were in the yard for).

It was clear that the object wasn’t a sword – more like a stake of some kind, with two washers. The thing wouldn’t budge at all, even after I had uncovered about 40cm of it.

A stake

Eventually it got dark, so we stopped.


This story has a boring ending, because while I was at work today, the partner reburied the object and finished the coop door so the chickens can be safe from predators.

So that was that. No unsheathing of a Symbol of Truth And Justice by the Fated, Chosen Protagonist. Just the spotting of some metal stick that got covered up again.

I think probably what happened is we unearthed an old garden stake. Given the timeline of our home, it is likely 25+ years old. The item seemed to be made of black iron and could have been smithed. It could indicate where ground level used to be. But I do wonder if it is attached to something deeper underground that forms part of a network – piping, perhaps. Anyone recognise it?

The exciting spin on all this is: last night I was arms-deep in the earth, in a fox-infested* area, uncovering a mysterious sword-like item, and my first, as a fledgling archaeologist. Hooray!

Next time, it will be complete, and something historical, for real.

*A fox came and hunted chickens in our yard, once.



18 thoughts on “First brush

  1. I really liked the “fox-infested” part! Incidentally, we raised chickens on the farm where I was brought up and had to deal with cougars, foxes, coyotes and wild dogs. There were occasional wolves, too, but not many. Glad to know you’re fortifying your chicken coop against the kitsune invasion, and here’s hoping your next archaeological find will indeed be a sword (or at least a rusty butter knife). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mike! I think I would be equal parts excited and terrified to see a cougar or a coyote, or a wolf. Or rather 1:6 parts. Wow! They would be such awesome creatures to spot, even if I was worried about the chooks.

      Fingers crossed there will be such a butter knife to hang on the wall 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  2. But you’ve had tremendous excitement from this ‘nearly’ archeological find, so that’s fine. Life’s about such little ‘near misses’ and moments of wonder at the thought that this time, this may be IT! Good luck with the chicken-coop and the security. Foxes are wily and will get in anywhere I find.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You May remember that we live in a “Roman” area of England, surrounded by ancient ruins containing stunning mosaics. But, just 50yds from our house is a patch of green land, protected, called a Cursus, in which was found a Neolithic burial chamber, all artefacts now in The British Museum. However, all of us living so close to it are required to have an archaeologist on site if we have any extension built onto our homes as the foundations are dug out. We last had something built in 1991 and the archaeologist was present for a week to supervise the builders …….. and I had to pay for his services! Nothing found! 😢

    Liked by 2 people

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