Artifacts Results are in!

Ferry FarmGeorge Washington's Boyhood Home

Ferry Farm
George Washington’s Boyhood Home

On Tuesday, after my appointments, I went to Ferry Farms, boyhood home of George Washington to see our favorite archaeologist, Mara. She has been helping us for about one year identify and date our artifacts as we find them. About two weekends ago, we allowed a one time metal detecting hunt of the plantation. We were able to undercover some really nice pieces this time. Here are the items and the results she was able to tell us about!

MaraFerry Farm

Ferry Farm

One of the finds we discovered close to what would have been the barn site turned out to be a trash pit. Back before trash pick up, people would burn most of their trash. If it didn’t burn, it would go into a pit and would be buried. These are treasure finds as the items can be place to a time period by looking at all the items as a whole.

From the dates of the items we recovered from this trash pit, we can say that the period would fall during the last residence, John Palmer and Mary Hooker (1930-1987). We mostly found glass bottles and pieces of plates.

Papa Bear on the hunt

Papa Bear on the hunt


Uncovering the trash pit

Uncovering the trash pit

Uncovering the trash pit

Uncovering the trash pit

Uncovering the trash pit

Uncovering the trash pit


Uncovering the trash pit

Uncovering the trash pit

Look what we found in the trash pit!

Look what we found in the trash pit!


Mara’s Results:

Clear Liquor Bottle:   Aluminum Screw Cap, Machine Made, Volume Designation (Quart),  Embossed on Body:  “Federal Law Forbids Sale or Re-Use of This Bottle”,  Owens of Illinois Mark and Suction Scar, Embossed on base:  D-1 / 60-6.

  • Although Owens of Illinois started using this mark in 1929, the federal government did not start regulating the re-use of liquor bottles until 1935.  This makes the date range for this bottle 1935-1959 based on the embossing on the body and Owens of Illinois mark.

Bottle 3

Mara’s Results:

Ball Jar:  Embossed:  Perfect Mason, Valve Mark on Base, Threaded Rim, Machine Made.

  • Wide mouth machine made canning jars without ground rims started to be manufactured in 1910.  Valve marks (marks made from semi-automatic bottle machines, usually reserved for wide mouth bottles/jars) have an end date of 1940.  The ‘Perfect Mason’ designation was utilized between 1910 and 1960.  You can further identify the years by looking at this website:  Without having a picture of the jar, the most conservative estimate would put this jar between 1910 and 1940.


Mara’s Results:

Clear Condiment Bottle:  Metal Screw Cap, ‘Ghost’ Seam, No Basal Markings.

  • Not able to date this bottle but given that it is machine made, it has an early date of no later than 1920 on it.


Mara’s Results:

Brown Square Medicine Bottle With Remnant Applicator:  Screw Finish, Iron Alloy Cap Present.  Base Embossed with Owens of Illinois Mark and identifying Marks indicating plant where made, year and mold type, Suction Scarred Base.

  • Basal Marks indicate this bottle was produced at the Alton, Illinois plant in 1937

Bottle 7

Mara’s Results:

Glass Jar (Art Deco Motif):  Embossed:  “Mrs. Schlorers” on body.  Base Embossed:  “No 89403 Des PAT A 4 42”.  Suction Scarred Base.

Jar was patented on March 7, 1933.  Remember how I told you that some bottles contained condiments that we didn’t consume today?  Well, that bottle was for Mrs. Schlorers Mayonnaise or ‘Olive-naise’.  She made the first commercially sold mayonnaise in 1907 in Philadelphia.  See:


Mrs S

Early date on this bottle is obviously 1933

Bottle 12

Mara’s Results:

Orange Lustre Elephant Figurine:

Bottle 14

Mara’s Results:

White Granite Hollowware Base With “Bona Fama…” Mark:

  • This mark reads fully:  “Bona Fama est Melior Zona Aurea” or “A good reputation is better than a golden belt.”  It was utilized by the Edwin Bennett Pottery Co. of Baltimore, MD. From 1890 until 1936.  I would put the end date of this piece at 1930 at the latest, however.  So, 1890-1930 for the hollowware base (likely a pitcher).

Bottle 15

Mara’s Results:

Milk Glass Fragment with Strawberry Molded Motif

  • This one is pretty cool.  It’s part of a strawberry ‘jam jar’ manufactured by Hazel Atlas from 1938-39 and would originally have been painted red and green like a strawberry, although the paint has worn off (this often happens with painted milk glass recovered archaeologically).  A lot of people don’t know that many milk glass novelties and decorative tablewares were originally painted but, over time, that inexpensive enameling rubs off.  These strawberry jam jars were given away free with other purchases, such as Corn Kix cereal to promote the product.  Along with the strawberry jam jar, one shaped like an apple was also produced and given away by manufacturers looking to market their products.  The original would have looked like this:

strawberry jam jar

To see all the artifacts

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28 thoughts on “Artifacts Results are in!

  1. marydpierce says:

    Wow. Isn’t that astonishing and just so cool?! I was able to participate at an archeological dig one summer in upstate New York. It was surprising to excavate layer by layer and discover “trash heap” finds like Native American pot shards, stone tool remnants, and even an flint arrowhead that was later dated as being nearly 10,000 years old! Well done.

  2. John says:

    Fascinating! The mansion is laced with history inside, out and underneath. 🙂

  3. terry1954 says:

    I have the complete set of orange lustre dishes and the Owens Illinois plant is a mile from me down the road that made a lot of glass

  4. Mara Kaktins says:

    Always glad to help, Michelle! We’re thrilled you are using Ferry Farm as a resource! And always happy to look at the pretty broken things for you! My favorite was the ‘Olive-Naise’!

    • Thank you again Mara! We love bring our “finds” to you, even our colonial sewer pipes…lol. I love the Olive-Naise too! Just shows that Heilman’s wasn’t the first to mix olive oil and mayonnaise!

  5. becky6259 says:

    What cool-looking finds! Old jars and dish ware are so interesting, and kinda neat to decorate with!

  6. vanbraman says:

    I really like the elephant. Especially since I have a collection of more than 100 elephants that I have picked up around the world.

  7. Sheryl says:

    Very interesting post–Until I read it, I had never thought about how bottles can be dated.

  8. Lisa says:

    Wow that’s some awesome finds!!

  9. sued51 says:

    How interesting! I’m an avid “American Pickers” watcher so I think this is fascinating…

  10. Papa Bear says:

    Well shoot! Nice to know that the trash was older that the 1940’s. Also I had no idea that you took so many photos while I was digging out those bottles!!! Good times!!

  11. […] The Hunt and Artifacts Results are in! […]

  12. Jen says:

    Oh, what fun to see all of these and read about them. I love that you’ve found quite a few neat things—the elephant and the bit of strawberry jar are really wonderful. Though…the government was regulating re-use of liquor bottles? Good grief.

    I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this to you before or not, but there’s a really neat blog about the midden at Mount Vernon. (I may have FOUND it from you, who knows?) It’s and quite fun to read!

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