Treasure Hunting In Appalacia – A Touch Of The Past

old ax

Hunting for treasure-is one of our favorite things to do around the Blind Pig house. Late July-is not the best time to look for relics from the past-it’s too hot, too grown up, and too snakey.

A few weeks ago, the Three Indian Princesses went along with Mandolin Man to hunt for fishing bait. I thought about going along-but after thinking of the sticky heat-I declined. I kinda regretted it-when the girls returned with the treasure above. Chatter found the old Ax head in the creek. We have no clue how old it is or even whose it was. I’d like to think it was my Papaw’s or someone’s from his family-but have no way of knowing.

As soon as I saw the ax I was tempted to have the girls take me back to where they found it-so we could dig around and see if there was anything else-after thinking of the stickiness-I decided we would wait for fall and cool weather. But after talking with one of Pap’s Aunts, and hearing about her memories of living near Pap’s old spring when she was a child-I knew I couldn’t wait to trek back up the creek to do some digging.

three kids

One day last week-me, Chatter, Chitter, and Ninja Boy (our favorite little boy in the world) went on a treasure hunting expedition to see if we could find anything else where the ax was found.

The day was the weirdest treasure hunting day we’ve ever experienced. It started as we were all getting booted up and ready to go. Chitter disappeared. We looked in the house and outside-she was no where to be found. After yelling for her-she came walking out of the woods-barefoot and still in her pjs. When I asked her what in the world she’s doing-she said she heard the dogs barking-looked out the window and thought she saw two legs running into the woods so she went to see who it was. Chitter doing this-is not weird in itself-she’s well known for being kind of kooky. But as the day progressed, we all wondered about the two running legs.


Typically when we treasure hunt-we look for old dumping sites. Places where folks dumped their trash-before there were public dumpsters. As we looked around where the ax was found-we soon realized there wasn’t a dump there.

old plate shards

The girls did find some old plate shards-which always excites us. But as we failed to find a dumping site-we begin to get discouraged by the heat and bugs.


Chitter started saying she felt like we were looking in the wrong place-saying she felt like something was telling her to look in a specific place. We all ignored her and kept digging and poking around.

pink rose plate

In just a few minutes she yells through the woods to tell us-she’s found something. She found the old plate piece above-see the pretty pink rose pattern? Before we know it-she’s off again saying she thinks she should look somewhere below us.

old car springs

No sooner than her and Ninja Boy get out of sight-she’s yelling again-this time she found-what we think are some kind of car springs. We’re beginning to pay her feelings a little more attention now.

cut glass piece

Next Chitter says she feels like there is something in the old logging road above us-sure enough she heads up through the woods and goes straight to the little piece of cut glass. She now has our rapt attention and we willing follow her for the rest of the day.

piece of old crock or jar

Her next feeling leads us straight to the piece of pottery above-just sticking out of the muck like it’s waiting for her. We all begin to discuss how eerie it is-how Chitter seems to be led to the exact positions of the old artifacts. Honestly, I’d think she planted it all-if I didn’t know better. Somewhere after the 3rd or 4th ‘Chitter feeling’ one of us remembers the 2 running legs and wonder if they’ve been leading her from the start. As the day wore on, she continued to lead us to pieces of broken glass, dishes, and old car parts-until we were all to tuckered out to care-and headed for home.


sword scabbard
The best find of the day-had nothing to do with Chitter’s feelings-but was strange too. Early in the day-when we first approached the site where the ax head was found-I looked straight at the sword scabbard above. It was sticking part way out of the dirt-like it was waiting for me to find it. As Chatter and I pulled the scabbard out-I could not believe what I had found. My mind immediately went to WC Penland and the days of the Civil War. I doubt that’s where the sword scabbard is from-but I hope to find out.

treasure hunters

So what do you think-was Chitter following the two running legs all day-or is she just a lucky dog?


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  • Reply
    September 18, 2017 at 6:27 am

    finding relics is a very difficult task and relic hunting takes a lot of patience and time with tons of hours of scanning.

  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    May 10, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Wow, looks liks a Civil War bayonet scabbard. The axe looks like it may date from that period as well. You may have stumbled across and old Civil War camp. If those things are there, there’s bound to be more. These things don’t just end up in the woods by chance.

  • Reply
    glass baby bottles
    October 25, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    I love to go on outdoor trips but never get the chance to go.

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    August 14, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Amazing day! I have a daughter like yours who says, “Something is telling me to…” and she usually is on to something! Some folks are just gifted with extra intuition. I love the blue and white piece of pottery, and of course the scabbard is a fabulous find!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    I’ve never gone treasure hunting. Too nervous about bugs and such, I guess! What do you do with all your treasures? Can’t wait to hear what you learn about your scabbard!!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 10, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Sounds like spirits in thee mountains to me. I have not doubt they exist and Chitter was in tune with them!
    If only those treasures could talk!! You know there is a story behind every one of them.
    And a hundred years from now what will people find when they go treasure hunting?—-a cell phone, walkman, action figure from a fast food restaurant, and lots of plastic bottles and Styrofoam cups and boxes I bet!LOL

  • Reply
    August 10, 2009 at 11:20 am

    I love treasure hunting. We have a metal detector and go hunting with it sometimes. We’ve found old coins, buttons, and so forth. I love finding Indian arrowheads! You made some great finds.

  • Reply
    Amy - parkcitygirl
    August 10, 2009 at 11:09 am

    What a fun and strange day! Love all your treasures 🙂

  • Reply
    Old Red Barn Co.
    August 9, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Wow. What an exciting day for many reasons. I wanna go along sometime. 🙂

  • Reply
    Michelle aka Applie
    August 9, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    What an exciting day! Something was leading Chitter. 🙂
    I thought those springs were from a materess.
    I love reading about your treasures. We don’t find much here. Maybe some shells and shark teeth at the beach.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    August 9, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    i think the scabbard could be a real find. leather is so fragile, hope it turns out to be something very interesting. finally a really warm day…mid 80s…i was thinking we might not have any summer at all. the broccolli was great, and cut off the new growth, pitiful as it was today. my hollihocks bloomed, they must be a hibred cause they arent the single petal ones i see around here. will have to take a picture of them. they arent that tall but they are pretty none the less.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    I have never gone treasure hunting this way, but sounds like fun.
    Your post today gives me a good idea for a post on my blog. Love the music on your site.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2009 at 11:39 am

    That sounds like it was a fun and very productive day to say the least.
    Sometimes you just have to go with your gut feelings no matter what your doing.

  • Reply
    laoi gaul-williams
    August 9, 2009 at 11:24 am

    wonderful-and how spooky, the two legs directing the day i think!
    ohh i so love finding old bits and bobs, to find a bit of old china is a exciting. when i lived by the sea we wouls beach comb and my best find was a thick piece of stoneware with the visible words ‘…prop…BOTANIC B…t be illeg’
    what on earth do you suppose that was?!

  • Reply
    August 9, 2009 at 10:00 am

    Love this post. Maybe Chitter just has a special “treasure sense” about her. We have remnants of an old spring house down by our waterfall/cave area (I need to do a post about this.) We have found many pottery shards there and some pieces of mason jars and old lids. Your scabbard is a good find.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2009 at 9:44 am

    It’s interesting that Chitter seemed to be lead to the places where she would find treasures from the past.
    I love hunting for treasure. There’s an old dump not far from here and I’ve poked around in it a few times. Found some bottles and broken household items. The blue bottle in your former post is identical to ones that were sold here containing milk of magnesia.
    I would love to visit you and go treasure hunting with you. Thanks for dropping by and commenting on my rainy day post. It was fun…even if I did get a bit wet.

  • Reply
    fishing guy
    August 9, 2009 at 7:28 am

    Tipper: It is amazing what you find on your hunts.

  • Reply
    Greta Koehl
    August 8, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    I can’t wait to hear what you find out about the scabbard. My girls and I love to go treasure hunting, too. Our best finds in our backyard have been some old coins.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    August 8, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    Oh, Man. It’s my favorite thing to do: Find old home sites or their long-since rotted away trash piles and dig up pieces from another time, other lives.
    Members of my family often tease me about my collections of broken bottles, jars, porcelain arms and legs from a once little girl’s baby doll, rusting tools and utensils, Bromo-Seltzer bottles, glass tops for fruit jars, rocks, crock pieces, parts of plates and cups.
    Don’t you hold each piece and close your eyes and try to imagine that father or that brother or mother or sister, using that plate or that jar or that axe or playing with the little red wagon that that wheel came from?
    I think it’s archeology at its best.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    Sounds fun!! Did you all find any chiggers?I always find treasure @ my moms house. It’s funny how it just emerges.

  • Reply
    Rick Morton
    August 8, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    To be a kid again. I remember doing things like that. The things they found looked cool.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    I love to find old pieces of the past. As a child, I lived in the mountains of southern West Virginia. My dad worked the coal mines on the hill behind our house. There were three tram roads (train tracks that carried the coal out of the mountains). About six years ago, I was walking back on the mountain and found an old rusted railroad spike. I was thrilled with my find. It now sits on a shelf beside a picture of my Dad.
    Your scabbard is a great fine. Wish we knew the story behind it. Blessings, Annie

  • Reply
    August 8, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Those treasures are fragments of stories. They are like glimpses into the past. I can see why you do this.
    That axe is in some condition!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    I love to go to old house plases!they
    are easy to find in the spring because of
    of the many fowers that are there.
    the things I find are not worth anything
    but,they tell us of our past!!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Mary-Chitter mostly kept mum about her ‘feelings’ other than saying she had them-she wouldn’t tell us anything. Hopefully I can try and date the scabbard-I’m going to try!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    August 8, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Martina-we did look-but no sword : (
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    August 8, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    Sounds like a very fun day!! Did Chitter have any explanations for her ‘feelings’? We love to treasure hunt around our property, too. My great grandparents homesteaded this property and we find lots of china shards, bottles, colored glass, etc. The sword scabard is a really neat find for you!! I wonder if you can date it?
    Hope you are staying cool~it’s HOT here!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Well you know I love treasure hunting. Most of what I find are old bottles, which I gladly bring home and wash up.
    Running legs…hmmmm….that’s a good one. I’ll have to think on it a bit.
    But if I were you, I’d keep followin’ Chitter!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    A weather worn seashell from the thrift shop rattled while I was cleaning it. Submerged it in water and out popped a clear marble with tan in the middle, frosted like beach glass. Same kind of marble like the one Dad gave me from his childhood collection! Bits of china,an old glass bead, some coins in the gardens. Crows dropped an old marble one day and I found another one while helping a friend garden. Ooh to have a metal detector! I love treasure hunting. Did you look near where you found the scabbard for the sword?

  • Reply
    August 8, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Oh what fun! You found some really great treasures! I enjoy treasure hunting too but I had to stop bringing the stuff home, I just couldn’t find any use for all the broken pottery and glass. I do have a nice collection of bottles and marbles. My house is next to a creek here in my small town, early spring and late fall (after the snakes are gone!) it is a great place to find treasures.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Wow, such wonderful finds. Could the springs be bed springs? Or maybe springs from an old car seat maybe. The scabbard has to have been the find of the day. Good hunting, all of you.
    My mom and her best friend used to find old dump sites and bring home treasures.

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