Monday, September 12, 2016

9/12/1b Report - Making History Personal. Making Artifacts Meaningful. Fresh Kills Landfill.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I just finished reading a really good book - The Forest and the Fort by Hervey Allen.  It is a historical novel.  If you are interested in U. S. history, I highly recommend it.

The story is about the people that settled the frontier in the 1750s.  The main characters were a British officer and a settler that was captured and raised by the Indians and later escaped to serve a British officer.  The location was Fort Pitt, Fort Ligonier, and Fort Bedford and some of the places around those forts.  Especially interesting was the relationships between the British military, local militias and traders.  The perspectives and motives of settlers, traders and various types of people who ended up by chance or purpose on the frontier was explored.

The French stirred the Indians to fight the settlers and the British.

The book was more interesting to me because I know the locations very well,  and the fellow that was raised by the Indians could have been partly modeled after one of my ancestors who was captured by the Indians and had a book written about him.

I enjoyed finding out the origins of some of the place names that I knew.

Many settlers were killed or captured by the Indians, and many Indians were killed and scalped by settlers.  The kind of life lived by the settlers must be unimaginable to anyone from our time.

I skated through school barely paying attention to any of my subjects and had no interest in history as it was then taught.  It all seemed so foreign and irrelevant.  If it had been taught in a way that made it more personal, me and all of the other country kids would have undoubtedly thoroughly enjoyed it. Our hills were the same hills where Indians roamed and not far away from our school was one of the main trails that led from civilization back East to the wild, and I do mean wild, frontier.  What a difference it would have made if it was made personal and real like that.

Nothing has meaning by itself.  You have to be able to relate it to something else and eventually to yourself.

I saw a program on TV last night that was titled Objects and Memory ( See ).  It appears to be a big national educational media project.  Since yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the 911 attacks, they were showing objects related to the disasters of that day.  They showed Fresh Kills Landfill, which they said is one of only two man-made objects that can be seen from space.  (That is a name that undoubtedly has a story behind it.)

Fresh Kills Landfill is where the debris from the Twin Towers was dumped.  They sifted through all of the material that was brought there.  Small personal items such as wallets and pictures were returned when possible.  Some went to museums.  (See )
People cherished many of the returned items, not because of any economic value, but because they were reminders.

You might want to visit .

Those sifting through the debris of Fish Kills landfill were doing something very much like detectorists do.  It isn't exactly the same, of course, but it is similar.

When we dig up an object from the 1715 Fleet, we recover a reminder of a disaster.  I think it was about 600 people that perished from that hurricane and the sinking of the fleet.  The beaches they washed up on were the same beaches that we detect today, but they were very different too.

A dug coin or artifact is a connector to another time and people that we do not know very well.  Those objects have meaning only when they are related to other things.  They have more meaning when you do the research, and when you know more about the object. and when you can relate it to times, places and people.

Things last when times do not.  They last when people do not - at least some of the time.

The objects were once a part of someone's past and present.  They then become a part of our own.

They are bridges or connectors.  We give meaning to the objects, and they enrich our lives to the extent that we engage with them.

They carry an objective reality, but we add to it.  We add to the objects history, and it becomes a part of our own history.


Metal Detecting is more meaningful if you make the connections.

If you get a kid interested in metal detecting for old things, they'll learn something about history and something about who they are and how they got there.


There is a signed copy of Alan Craig's Silver Coins in the Florida Collection book for sale on eBay.


Not much of interest going on with the weather right now.  The nearest disturbance probably won't become much of anything.  It will give us some clouds and rain, but not improved beach detecting conditions.