Friday, April 3, 2009

Antique Bottle Hunt

There are areas in GTMO where antique bottles wash up on shore and get buried in the mud. Many residents spend every weekend hunting for such bottles. We have been here almost a year and have never gone. It was high time to find out what all the fuss was about. 

These are dead Mangroves. I had lots of luck finding bottles in this area. I had to get out my stick and dig them up.

Every now and then there would be one right on the surface.

I love this piece of coral. It looks like brains. And look, an old Cuban beer bottle sitting right next to it. Lucky me. 

I have never seen a cactus like this. It was so strange. It looked like a weird tree. Anyone know what it's called?

Yikes, a giant termite mound. I have only seen one of these. It was on National Geographic. You know the one. Where the villagers knock over the giant termite mound and start grabbing the termites and biting off their heads.  Tastes like chicken. I like chicken but will pass on this mound. 

I hit the jackpot with this bottle. We were walking back to the car and I saw just a speck of purple sticking out of the mud. It was in an area with lots of broken purple glass. I almost walked right past it but something told me to stop and investigate. I began to dig it up and was delighted to find a perfectly intact purple bottle. With the help of Google I learned that this bottle did not begin its life purple. Apparently, manganese was added to glass to make it clear. Over several decades and exposure to the sun the bottle becomes more and more purple. Purple glass is very desirable among collectors. For those of you scratching your heads manganese is a chemical element, designated by the symbol Mn. It also has the atomic number 25. 

I could really use some help from my readers. On the bottom of my bottle are the initials ET. I have done several searches and google has really let me down.  I can't find this company anywhere. The bottle has air bubbles in the glass and the seam where the glass is fused together does not go all the way to the top. I have been told this helps you date the bottle. Everyone seems to think it's old. 

We found about 30 antique bottles on this hunt. I will post pictures when I get off my lazy bum and clean them up. 


Mark J said...

I think the "ET" means the bottle was discarded from a UFO. =)

Mark J said...

I remembered today, for some reason--I was going to address your question about the "tree-cactus"...

It's a member of the genus Opuntia, which includes the prickly pears and chollas you've seen around here. I think the you photpgraphed is Opuntia brasiliensis, which (as you might expect from the species name) is native to Brazil and grows in tropical regions.

Bill Lewis said...

See this site on old bottles. Was it blown in a mold?

Anonymous said...

Hello My husband and I were stationed there in 75-77. I have no idea what your bottle is. We have been trying to find out for years for we have several bottles we also found when they were digging the new ferry landings. One lady found botles that they figure Columbus dropped. It was a rare jewel. Is the old sucken ship still behind East Bargo? Is the auto dump yard still Sears and Roebucks? cubans still worked on the base when we were there. there were some Cuban families that lived in trailers near the commissary, if it is still in the same place. Thanks for taking me down memory lane, it was wonderful!

Goo said...

Awesome bottle find. The Goat Locker isn't the only place to dig for bottles as I've found many at Girl Scout Beach and in front of Manahillma Bay. If you want to dig around for a few at GS Beach, make sure you wear a dust mask or tie your shirt over your nose and mouth as you'll stir up a lot of dust. There was a lot of asbestos type of building materials that had been thrown away and burned back in the late 40's. You should be ok and land a few Cuban Coke bottles if you play it safe. I've landed a few Cuban Canada Dry, 7up and Pepsi bottles with the paint still on them in that area. It's also very interesting to see some of the stuff that was discarded back then as I've found parts to the old Mike boats (smaller ferrys)to engines, to truck bumpers, fire hydrants, etc. I don't think they ever thought that the cliff sides would erode back enough to expose the old dump sites. That's how we have glass/GS beach giving us all of the awesome sea glass. Also, there's another spot on Leeward that used to be a dump site that has mad patches of bottles. I think the pics you're showing with deer tracks on the dry lake bed is that same area. Have you seen the abandoned cars and military vehicles on the dry lake bed off the GTMO river? Bring your zoom lens and your binoculars. Good luck on your seaches and I hope to run into you both out there.