Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A 'dirt-loving kind of guy' mines for finds in old outhouses
The privy in John Hanley's back yard is no longer private.

But after a century of benign neglect, it's a hole once again.

"Staunton is a gold mine," Hanley said earlier in the week. "Beneath almost any yard you'll find jewelry, buttons, bottles - all kinds of artifacts."

Hanley's Sunnyside Street mine is a 3-foot-by-3-foot shaft that roughly corresponds to the business end of an outhouse. The organic matter has long ago converted to soil (and lost its odor); the rest is treasure for urban archaeologists.

Just make sure it's old.