Strange Find in Ohio

March 23, 2009 at 8:41 am | Posted in Finds, News | Leave a comment

trailsA man’s mysterious find has launched a “buried-treasure rush”  in Ohio. According to the Ashtabula Star-Beacon, “Darren Tackett discovered a piece of history yesterday.” In Indian Trails Park (pictured at left) on the Ashtabula Gulf, Tackett found a “metal wheel with 12 wooden spokes around a metal hub. The wheel is 30 inches in diameter and, although much of the metal is rusted away, has a lip suggestive of a railroad car wheel.

“News of the finding seems to have sparked a buried treasure ‘gold rush’ to the gulf. Mike Wayman, Ashtabula Township Park Commission, said he saw a man heading down the steps to the Gulf off South Main Friday morning with shovel in hand. Wayman said the Park Commission asks that any artifacts dug up on the park property in the Gulf be donated to the commission for display. A finders/keepers concept may not apply to property retrieved from the park land….

“Tackett found the artifact buried in mud and shale on the west side of the river, upstream from the South Main railroad trestle. Although he walks the area almost every day, this was the first time he had seen the wheel, about 8 inches of which were sticking out of the mud.”

It took an hour and a half to dig out, and weighs around 100 pounds: “Tackett wondered if the wheel was off the Lake Shore & Michigan Souther Railroad train that plunged into the Gulf on Dec. 29, 1876. However, the site of that disaster was farther downstream from South Main. Further, the intense fires from that event would have burned out the spokes.”

Interesting, but remember: Another of our scavenging commandments is: Don’t remove historical or archaeological artifacts from areas where they are protected.

Beachcombing Soldier Brings Joy

March 19, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Posted in Finds, News | 1 Comment

seashoreUsing a metal detector to find his own lost engagement ring, an Iraq War vet found much more — so now he’s a hero in more ways than one.

Luke Carter’s fiancée gave him the ring before he began his tour of duty. Having lost the ring somewhere on Australia’s Golden Beach, he recruited an “expert metal-detector operator” to undergo a “massive search,” according to the Sunshine Coast Daily. When this search was first covered in the Daily, the story mentioned that along with his own ring, Carter had found a few other “bits and bobs” in the sand that day. Reading that report, “Camille Wysling’s parents Trish and Neil wondered if their daughter’s Sweet 16 ring was among” those bits and bobs. The Brisbane college student was distraught, having lost the beloved ring her parents had given her but which had vanished one fateful day, months before, in the waves.

“After Cyclone Hamish, Camille resigned herself to the possibility her treasure was lost forever. Until Luke Carter came along.”

The Wyslings telephoned Carter, “described the ring with its three little stones” and asked if he had found anything like it.

He had. Camille will collect it this weekend.

Her family is “over the moon” because “it was such a long shot.”

War Medal Bought at Yard Sale Is Returned to Next-of-Kin

March 14, 2009 at 9:02 am | Posted in Finds, News | 23 Comments

dead-mans-pennyA medal issued to the widow of a Canadian World War I soldier who died at at the Battle of the Somme was lost soon after she received it — and turned up at a yard sale decades later. Now the medal has finally made its way back to the soldier’s closest living relative.

According to the Norwich Advertiser, Walter Thomas Baker died in France during the 1916 battle — which, with 1.5 million casualties, was one of the bloodiest and most devastating in modern military history. A saucer-sized gunmetal commemorative medal of the type familiarly known as a “Dead Man’s Penny” — bearing the soldier’s name and the motto “He died for freedom and honour” — was sent to his widow. But she quickly lost track of it. Baker’s Dead Man’s Penny “was not seen again until the 1970s when it was bought at a yard sale,” according to the Advertiser. And that’s how it came to be stored in the attic of Ottawa homemaker Della Hill. It lay there half-forgotten for decades — until Hill saw a picture of another Dead Man’s Penny in a magazine article last August and realized the sentimental and historical value of that yard-sale find. Hill then devoted herself to finding Baker’s next-of-kin and returning the relic. She put out notices in Canadian newspapers, according to the Advertiser:

“Researchers from family history website then got in touch with Mrs Hill and started trawling through their historic military records to trace the rightful owner…. The experts soon found Mr Baker’s military service file from his time with the Canada Overseas 76th regiment, his marriage certificate and attestation papers, allowing them to trace his family tree to locate his great-great-grandniece Vanessa Rider, of Lowestoft” on Great Britain’s east coast.

Rider , “who had no idea that her distant relative had been a war hero … was reunited with the medal at Lowestoft Record Office. She was also presented with an historical record from Mr Baker’s regiment and a letter from Mrs Hill explaining how the medal had been found. Ms Rider said: ‘I could not believe it when I heard that one of my ancestors had been honoured in this way, and that I would be receiving this Penny. I never imagined something like this would happen to me.’ Military records show that Mr Baker emigrated to Canada from London with his wife just weeks before enlisting in the army and heading off the war, sailing into Liverpool in April 1916 and later being sent to the Somme.”

This confirms yet again the fact that every scavenged item has a history.

Meteorite Lands at Rummage Sale

March 12, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Posted in Finds, News | 1 Comment

meteor_crater_arizonaHaving bought what he thought was just a hunk of melted-looking metal at a Milwaukee rummage sale, a Wisconsin man has learned that it is not only an extremely valuable meteorite but an extremely valuable stolen meteorite. Tom Lynch paid $10 at the sale for the vaguely basket-shaped fifty-pound hunk, which he believed was copper or bronze. A 62-year-old car enthusiast with little interest in metallurgy, Lynch planned to sell it for salvage — until he happened to see a TV documentary about meteorites on the Travel Channel and realized that what he actually had was an approximately-4.6 million-year-old relic from outer space.

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Lynch rushed his find to Chicago’s Field Museum, where scientists told him that the hunk was indeed a meteorite. Putting it up for sale, he had received an offer for $10,000 and was hoping that the price might rise by magnitudes of ten — until he was contacted by a minerals expert who recognized the relic as having been swiped in 1968 from the visitor center accompanying Meteor Crater, a tourist attraction (and big hole) near Flagstaff, Arizona. Now Lynch is preparing to drive the meteorite to Arizona and deliver it personally.

Originally, it was found by a rancher three miles from the Arizona crater and permanently lent to the visitor center, which opened in 1942. “On Aug. 12, 1968, someone walked away with the meteorite,” the Journal-Sentinel tells us. “At the time, the value was placed at $5,000, and the Coconino County sheriff issued a nationwide bulletin for its return.” About five years ago, the center’s director got a call from a man claiming to be a lawyer representing a family that was in possession of the meteorite. The family was requesting a reward in exchange for its return. The center’s director told the alleged lawyer that thieves don’t deserve rewards. The “lawyer” never called back.

Tom Lynch is being given a $1,000 reward, and a tribute to this good-hearted rummage saler will be posted alongside the meteorite when it goes back on display.

Wrecked Ship Sends Beachcomber a “Gift”

March 6, 2009 at 8:42 am | Posted in Finds | 1 Comment


deadeyeThe sea still has treasures galore to yield whenever it feels like it, and good stuff still washes up onshore. A beachcomber in New Zealand thought he’d found a skull in the seaweed as he strolled the sands on the west coast of the North Island last month. But his find was quickly identified as a triple deadeye, a piece of equipment used on sailing ships until the end of the 19th century.

According to the Taranaki Daily News, the artifact is believed to have come from either the sunken ship Australind, wrecked in Port Taranaki in 1882, or the Star of the Mersey, which wrecked and sank there in 1886. Recent strong seas and high surf are believed to have washed the heavy item ashore. About his find, beachcomber Dave Chadfield exulted:

“This is as good as finding a porthole. It is the last thing to go when the mast comes crashing to the deck and the waves are washing over and all the men are jumping off…. I’m an old sea dog and every man who works on the sea has a great respect for anyone who used sails to power their vessel.”

On the day when Chadfield found the triple deadeye, his companion at the beach was 79-year-old Iain “Bosun” Dow, who told reporters:

“I went to sea when I was 14 and finding this sort of thing is exciting because it’s history. You know a fellow seafarer has probably used it and it gives you a sense of where you fit in.”

Sure does.

Welcome to the Scavenging Blog!

July 13, 2007 at 1:37 am | Posted in Adventures, Book excerpts, Celebrities, Deals, Finds, News, Philosophy, Pop culture, Recycling, Reviews, Tips, Uncategorized, Videos | 1 Comment

Are you a scavenger? We are. And we think there’s a lot more of us out there than anybody realizes.

Scavenging is the first and only blog devoted exclusively to the concept of the scavenger. And we’ll also explore the philosophy of scavenging as a lifestyle (or a hobby), and the critical role it plays in the world at large.

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