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Bonzer Words!: Archeology In The Garden

Valerie Yule tells of "treasures'' to be found in a garden dig.

Valerie writes for Bonzer! magazine. Please visit www.bonzer.org.au

In Scotland in Auld Aberdeen, we had a garden 2000 years old, and however deep you dug, it was always topsoil. And we found interesting things, such as bits of plates three hundred years old, more elaborately decorated than you ever see today.

But even in Australia, if you ever come to live in a house which has been lived in before, there may be archeological atudies waiting for you in the garden.

In Melbourne's inner-city Collingwood we had a house with a garden all round, so when the local children came out of the Saturday afternoon matinees, they would run around our house, playing the film they had seen, whether it was Casanova or a war film or worse, requiring real torture to unfortunates tied to the verandah posts. The most successful replay however, was Treasure Island. When they came racing back from the picture theatre and started digging furiously in our back yard they found - treasure! Bones, Bits of skeletons. Medicine bottles - poison. Coins. Even bits of jewellery and sodden scraps that must have been maps, buckles, buttons, bits of boots, And no way of dating any of it.

When we moved out to Mount Waverley, you could dig and find stuff from the building site, and bits of toys and plant-pots, and the like. The most interesting was discovering that a whole underlay of crazy-paving paths was buried underneath the herbage that had grown over and composted itself over it.

That was Layer One.

Layer Two, also getting buried, were the concrete pathways and bits of model railway line set down by the next owner.

Layer Three, well, that will be us.

Whether the home will ever have a chance of becoming like the ancient cities of Troy or Jericho, layer upon layer upon layer, depends on the developers who are hungry to bury everything, garden and all, under Units.

So if you are going to reconstruct the garden, have a neighborhood Treasure Hunt for the kids to dig it over for you first.

Valerie Yule

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