Privy or not ?

Privy or not ?

Hi I am new to privy digging,but find it intresting. I MAY HAVE A PRIVY !
1. I Metal Detect a field area,and one day I noticed 2 holes at the edge of the field. They are about 4 ft in circumference,and about 6 foot apart. The hole is sunk in about 3 feet.

I ran my detector over and around,but nothing.

Do I just probe in the holes or start diggin ? or is it even anything to be diggin.

I am not sure what signs of one are. I have read some articles.but need some more information.

Appreciate any suggestions

Took some pictures today. Seems there are atleast 5 holes. I examined them closer a few are not sunk as deep,but one I cleared out and could see water moving through center of hole along with what looks like drainage tiles a half curved one I could see and maybe a brick or piece of another,but one of them is definitely rounded. (see 3rd pic).

I havent dug with shovel yet,not sure hate to dig to china and not find anything Lol..

The holes are in pretty much a straight line. And all are in line with 3rd pic,and you can see they are inbetween two fields.

I am thinking they are just sinkholes from drainage ditch,but I may dig anyhow LOL..



King of Spam
Staff member
I would look for broken glass and trash...dig around some and see what you come up with...Buster,,.........:wave:
go to your local salvage yard. get an antenna off a junk car. one with a matal ball for a tip. cut it off close to the car as possible. you got your self a metal probe. if you can drill out a golf ball or better a cue ball. put it on the cut end of antenna to use as a handle. or just clamp a set of vice grips down on it good and tight. use it to probe those sink holes. if you push it down and goes down easy after a bit of resistance good chance its old timey crapper. look at the metal tip when you pull it out and check for differant dirt color than surface dirt. this is also good indicator. just make sure those impressions arent 4 foot by 7 or 3 by 6... that would indicate no diggin (may be grave)

good lck and if ya feel like diggin just grab a shovel and dig.

happy huntin
Good info and thanks for replies. Well I have permission to dig on the property LOL :lol: not sure about 10 feet down. Im sure as long as I fill them back in it would not be a problem.

The field has been planted,and no cattle are in that part of property now.

The holes are round so not much chance of being a grave. I can get some pics of them.

The place was inhabitated by many people for atleast a couple of years so somewhere lies some pits,and I think this is it!

I will pry just dig with shovel some and see what I come up with. Quick question about safety. If I get down more than six feet do I shore it with boards. And should stuff generally be found before six feet or deeper ?

Don't dig alone!!!!

First off. don't ever dig alone if it's your first dig!!!! I used to dig with one of Michigans Bottle Club presidents and he would tell me stories from what he has seen and that is what would get you killed, digging alone. Dirt is heavier than you think.

An antenna is not and accurate device to use, not strong enough. Go online and spend $20.00 for a proper probe and use that if you must probe.

Go to your local library and get what they call a SANBORN FIRE MAP. These maps were used to plot houses and the older ones (pre 1900) usually show privy's on the map.

PM me with more info on the area that you want to dig and I will show you what to look for when you are probeing with a proper probe.

If has a drainage tile in it I wouldn't even dig it. Flowing water=unstable ground. And do you know if there are gas lines in that area? I've seen them in places you wouldn't even think of.

Find out where there is a local bottle club in your area and go talk to them first to get an idea of what is exactly involved with it.

I don't want to stop you from digging privy's, I want you TO BE SAFE digging for the first time and have fun doing it.

Good luck and I hope to get a PM from you. I quit digging for good about 3 weeks ago and it is awesome to find a good privy full of bottles, like winning the lotto!!!!

#10 a glance...

Hey Jazdo, At a glance I would think that what you are seeing is likely not privies. Your description of a pipe running with water makes me think you are on a drainage pipe. Some important questions to ask yourself:
Was the area a neighborhood or business district at one time?
Are the holes lined vertically with brick or stone?
Is there glass, trash, brick, etc. on the surface that might indicate that a structure once stood on the property?
Do you have access to old maps such as Sanborn's from the area?
Is this a rural area? If so a dump is more likely than a privy with bottles.
BTW a good probe is going to have a pipe for a handle to amplify the sound/feel of what's below. Also it needs to be made from 'spring steel' that won't bend permanently but is flexible enough to work into the ground.
You can go to my web site if you wish to see the ones that I make. Or just type privy probe into your search engine.
Hope this helps, GARY aka Diggermeister
If they are shallow then another possibility is an antique refrigerator. Folks would sometimes dig a hole down into the mud and muck and build a little building on top or just cover them over. Put a couple of crocks full of food in there and it'd help to keep the food cold for a bit. Swiz