I find lots of marbles in my archeological dig of a garden here at PumpjackPiddlewick. Which then had me researching them...

There’s a lot to be learned about marbles. And note the ‘s’ ending. I’m not speaking of the stone we use sometimes for kitchen counters or fireplace surrounds. Rather, those little glass balls we used to play games with when we were kids. Those marbles. With an s.

Actually, I was personally never very good at the game of marbles. Not enough patience. Maybe. Probably. The coloured glass was very pretty though, especially if there were swirls in it. But marbles didn’t really hold my attention. Until now.

Digging up My Garden

You see, I have been finding them throughout my garden restoration. (If you aren’t up on the story of my garden, have a read of any of my restoration garden posts.) It’s a never ending, or at least seems it, archaeological dig.

To continue, my garden has been handing over quite a few little treasures, the odd rusty nail, quite a few little glass bottles and rather a number of marbles. Now any find in my garden (caveat – that is not broken) gets due care and attention. Glee from me, as it is like digging up buried treasure.

Findings

Actually, overall, most of my finds have turned out to be from the early 20th century, 1900 – 1930 time frame, with a few dotted either side. I still haven’t discovered the history of my wee little medieval house, or dug down deep enough (yet) to fully grasp its antiquity and how the garden was originally used. That’s a project for the future. Maybe.

As part of building my Hugelkulture raised beds I have been taking rich soil from over and under a buried bench. It has about 30 years or more of mulch, and other weird things, buried in it. And that includes marbles. Two found so far in the past couple days. One large one with a swirl through it, and one green normal size one. Both, I would hazard a guess at initial covered in dirt look, hand blown from the 1920s.

Discovering More

And you see that’s the thing, when you start digging stuff up, in an archaeological way, you kind of wish to know more about it. How old it is, for certain, but also it opens a window into worlds you never knew before.

I will note that when researching marbles it is important to include that ‘s’, otherwise you find yourself looking at a lot of kitchen counter top designs. Better yet, ‘game of marbles’ focuses the research even better.

More Marbles

Delving in, there are whole websites dedicated to figuring out what type, as well as age. Such as: imarbles and Alan’s Encyclopedia Marble Reference Archive, two of my go to sites for researching what I find. (See, told you, a whole new world!)

Most marbles today are mass produced by machine. But in the distant, and lesser distant, past they were hand blown. Some tell tales are air bubbles in the glass, and sometimes even a pontil mark (where they break the glass).

All my marbles, and other warranted finds, have made it in to my Etsy Shop. And it turns out my marbles have been selling to collectors around the world. Not quite a Roman find (yet), but still quite neat, as well as educational, finds.

If you are interested in more musings on archeological finds from the garden, have a read of:

Antique Glass

Talking Rubbish

And if you like what you read and wish to join in and support Pumpjack & Piddlewick, do check out my Nourish page.

PS

If you wish to see the marbles and other odd finds I find, here’s a taste from My Shop

Simply click on an image to see more.

2024-03-08

2 Comments

  1. Happy and Blesssed Easter to You and Your loved ones and to all the Animals Both Great and Small am Keeping all of you in my prayers. Sending Hugs and Prayers for you to Stay Safe, and to have a Blessed Easter. God is Awesome. Sarah

    1. Thank you Sarah. As ever you are very good to think of us.

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