Amateur Archeology

Archeology is defined (by Wikipedia) as…

The study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that has been left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes (the archaeological record).

Recently my parents were conducting an archeological dig of their own by doing some cleaning in their “crawl space”.  The “crawl space” is an area that you put stuff that you really do not want throw away, but you will never really want or need ever again.  It’s what every good “hoarder” needs!

While down there they unearthed some Father of Five “relics”.

One afternoon (while visiting their house with #2 of 5, #3 of 5, and #5 of 5) my parents thought it would be fun to bring out their “find” to share – allowing the kids (and myself) to sift through the collection.  As I perused the items, walking down memory lane (and while the kids were teasing me about some of the weird junk I have collected) it suddenly occurred to me that these “treasures” really did constitute a relatively accurate “snapshot” of various stages through my life.  As I sat there (feeling all nostalgic, simultaneously being mocked by my children) it occurred to me that this would make a really FUN blog post.      

In return for sharing this with you (and allowing you the opportunity to tease me alongside my children) I want to hear YOUR analysis (as an Amateur  Archeologist) of your thoughts about the owner of these items!  They are listed (as best as I can) in a slightly chronological order and/or grouped with similar items as to their relevance in my life.

Good luck, and enjoy! (But don’t tease me TOO badly)

$3.00 in change
$3.00 in loose change

Rhodesian 1c coin
A 1973 Rhodesian 1c coin

Matchbox cars
Four die cast toy cars
- 1975 Hot Wheels “Hot Rod” (sans it’s front wheels)
- 1976 Tomica Porsche 911S
- 1976 Shinsei “Thunder Bird 3” This is from the UFO Commander 7 series.  It is broken and missing pieces.
      I found this in the sandbox at the park as a boy.
- 1979 Hot Wheels Greyhound Bus 

 Stamp collection 
Harris Pioneer World-Wide Postage Stamp (collection) Album – Copyright 1977

Star Wars Figures
Five Star Wars figures.

- Star Destroyer Commander
- Boba Fett
- C3P0
- IG-88
- Tusken Raider

X-Wing - Wing laser
The detachable laser from the wing of a Star Wars X-Wing Fighter toy.

Go to the Head of the Class
The book of questions and rules that came from Milton Bradley’s “Go to the Head of the Class” board game.  (unknown series)

Here Comes SnoopyDr. Who Books
Three Books
- Here Comes Snoopy
- Dr. Who – Programme Guide Volume 2 by Jean-Marc Lofficier (Yes, with an “e”)
- Dr. Who – And the Planet of the Dalleks by Terrance Dicks

Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction Bookstore - Bookmark
A bookmark from Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore
(Where I picked up the Dr. Who books from above)

Magic Cards
Adam’s “The Mysterious Hearts” Magic Card Trick

Six sided dice
Two green six-sided dice (not from the “Go to the Head of the Class” board game).

To be honest, I am sure these dice were kidnapped from some sort of board game and used to play Dungeons and Dragons.

Minnesota Voyager belt buckle Minnesota Voyager belt buckle Minnesota Voyager belt buckle

A solid brass Minnesota Voyager belt buckle.  This is part of the "Great American Buckle Collection" from 1980.  It is hand cast in solid brass (with very high relief) by Heritage Mint Ltd. and individually numbered (LE-2474).  This buckle was commissioned by Twin City Federal Savings and Loan in 1980 to pay tribute to the fact Minnesota is the outdoor capital of America.

(I have an unfinished blog post about my connection to Twin City Federal Savings and Loan.  I’ll see about finishing that one up sometime soon.)


World Geology Timeline World Geology Timeline
My junior high school “World Geology Timeline” project (Graded a “C” – I deserved better.)

This is a scrolled up paper approximately 10 to 12 feet long representing the earth’s Geological history.  (Thank you #4 of 5 for helping me “model” this artifact)

Calligraphy Template
A plastic “calligraphy” letter template.

Cassette Tapes
Five cassette tapes.
- 1 unmarked.
- 1 marked “Christmas 1975” on one side and “Star Blazers” on the other side.
- 1 marked “Little Mr. Bojangles”, “Go Team Go (up-down)”, “Bouncing Ball” and “Blast off!!!!” – Data on  cassette for the TI-99/4A
- 1 labeled “Quest for the King” and “Pennies and Prizes” – Another data cassette for TI-99/4A.  These are modules for the Tunnels of Doom cartridge.
- 1 marked “Adam Ant – Friend or Foe” (Note, the "D" in Adam Ant is written backwards just like it was on the album.)

I was a fan of the 80’s anime series “Star Blazers” – and one Saturday morning I was unable to watch the show, so I set up a tape recorder to record the audio in order to listen to it later.

Before flash drives, DVD ROM’s, CD ROM’s, Hard Disk Drives, and even before floppy diskettes, people saved their digital data on CASSETTE TAPES…   These are only a couple of the DOZENS I had saved my BASIC computer programs on.

I did play the “Christmas 1975” tape after I got home.  I got to hear my Mémère and Pépère’s voices talking to me for the first time in thirty years.  (They passed in 1981 and 1983). 

I cried listening to it.  I miss them so much.  

A cassette player Microphone.   It is most likely the one used to record “Christmas 1975”.

A box of 6 sparklers.

Waterproof matches
A box of Coghlan’s Waterproof wooden safety matches.

Old Rusty pocket knife
A pocket knife I found in the street – Marked “Colonial – Prov U.S.A.” on one blade “Made in the U.S.A.” on the other blade. 

Sharpening Stone
Pocket knife sharpening stone and non-matching leather pouch.

Po.Do brand Deluxe Plastic Coated Playing Cards – Horse print – in gold colored box.

Note:  This is a COMPLETE deck!  Ahem… Did you hear that kids??  Somehow I managed to keep a whole deck of cards complete (a task my five of my children have been unable to attain in their (collective) seventy years of life).

If memory serves me correctly, this was a gift from “Walter”. 

Walter and Lydia were our next door neighbor before we moved to Bloomington (from birth through age eight).  They were my and my sister’s “Mr. and Mrs. Wilson” (of “Dennis the Menace”).  They were an older married couple with no children.  We would stop over unannounced, or spend time with them while they worked in their yard.  Lydia loved having us over and baked cookies and treats for us all the time (she was an AMAZING baker).  Walter (on the other hand) was a little more curmudgeonly in nature,  but always had little gifts and stories for us – and would frequently perform for us on his harmonica from “his chair” in the corner of their living room. 

Coast to Coast Hardware Paystub
A paystub from my days working at the Valley West Coast to Coast hardware store.  This was truly a wonderful place to work – and I have so many fond memories of the friends I made there!

Greeting Cards
Four birthday cards.
- One from my grandmother marked “15th”.
- Another from my grandmother (unknown year)
- One from my sister and another from my parents from my 18th birthday.

Heavy Metal pins
A Mötley Crüe and Twisted Sister denim jacket button.

Several various photographs (in chronological order as best as I can determine)

Star Wars CharactersStar Wars Characters
Polaroid photos of my sister and I with Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and C3P0 characters during the height of the Star Wars craze (yeah, I was am a BIG fan!).

Our Family 
Polaroid photo of our family standing in our back yard.

Mom and Dad
A black and white photograph of my parents.  I think I took this photo, but I do not recall where.

Steve and I - Lake Fannie 
Photograph of myself and my good neighborhood friend Steve after I caught and we landed an 8 lb northern pike while fishing at his cabin.

Four photographs from my first trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area

A freeze dried meal

BWCA Obelisk
One of the Canadian border obelisks

BWCA - Moss Box
A “mossbox”
(wooden “toilet” (and I use that term loosely) in the woods frequently covered with moss – hence the name)

BWCA - Waterfall
A small miscellaneous waterfall

A photo of Cassandra and I on the transatlantic flight home from our High School’s trip to Italy and Greece.

(Cassandra is a friend I made from the other school we journeyed with – I lost contact with over the years, but through a very odd set of circumstances a number of years ago I “virtually” bumped into her again.)

Joe Joe and Louie
These are a series of photos from a later BWCA trip of my friends Joe and Louie (one of each individually, and one of them together) taken in the boys bunkhouse at Tuscarroa Outfitters the night before we headed out for a week-long trip into the BWCA. 

Joe can be seen sporting a rugged “Duluth Pack” over his tighty-whities, while Louie is donning the sheik and all too shear Duluth Pack LINER (the plastic bag that goes inside the Duluth Pack), along with a pair of his very own tighty-whities.  Louie tops off his ensemble with a pair of turquoise colored Chuck Taylor Converse All-Star Tennis shoes. 

Don’t they look Daaarrrling?!?

NCC Bookstore Bag
All these archeological goodies were delivered to me in a glossy plastic Normandale Community College bookstore bag.

Now that you have seen the recently unearthed “Father of Five Collection” for yourself, I really want to hear your observations (as an amateur archeologist) about the person who “left this stuff behind”…


  1. I saw nothing to make fun of till I got to the end there..."*awkward cough**...but great collection! Wish I'd been able to get all my stuff out before my dad sold the house and trashed everything when I left home and mom divorced him. Now, the best things I have from my childhood is a baseball glove and a few faded, reddened pictures that I had kept. It's a travesty really.

  2. Well P&P, for what it's worth - With a few exceptions, A LOT of that (most of it) is going straight into the trash.

    It's the memories that they stir that are valuable... Hopefully you still have those!

  3. Ahhhh, Father of Five... it is good that you have consulted me. As an amateur archaeologist, this is the period of civilization with which I am most familiar. Here is my assessment of the individual to whom these artifacts belonged:

    The items obviously indicate a period of time spanning the individual's progression from childhood through late teens.

    The $3.00 in loose change held great value in this time period, and was probably being saved for a special purchase. The modern day CHILDHOOD equivalent amount of great value would likely be a $20.00 bill. The modern day equivalent amount of great value for the ACTUAL INDIVIDUAL represented (taking into account age progression and changes in life stage) would be approximately $3.00 in loose change, scraped out of couch cushions and car consoles.

    The individual represented has a survival instinct (evidenced by the pocket knife, sharpening stone, and matches), a love of the outdoors (evidenced by the belt buckle and the fishing, campfire cooking, wilderness er... toileting, and general landscape photographs), and a slight flair for the dramatic and exciting (evidenced by the sparklers and magic tricks).

    The individual represented thrives on science fiction (evidenced by the Star Wars figures/photos, the bookmark, and Dr. Who books) and enjoys history (evidenced by the stamp collection).

    The individual represented has a strong work ethic (evidenced by the pay stub... $4.50, wow... I first worked for $3.35), and values a job well done (evidenced by the Geology project, the lettering stencil, and the INTACT deck of playing cards)

    The individual represented shopped at K-Mart... because I, too, had a pile of those blue label K-Mart cassette tapes! (I used to peel the blue K-Mart labels off and make my own labels)

    The individual represented places high value on relationships (evidenced by the miscellaneous game implements, the greeting cards, the Christmas 1975 cassette, and the volume of family/friend photographs).

    How'd I do?

  4. Jeff... Pretty spot on I'd say! (And since I happen to KNOW the person who left all this stuff behind - I can speak with near certainty.)

    I too started working at $3.35 (Minimum wage) - that was back in 1985 (May of 1985 to be exact!)

    Hmmm.... Do I smell a post about early working experiences??

  5. I just hope you have time and inclination to copy the Christmas audio tape over to a digital file to store.

  6. So, where was the junk? By the way, how did you get a grade of "C" for 6,000 years of "World Geology Timeline" ? I bet you left out that cavemen rode dinasaurs. See you at the SP and MB rallies!

  7. Forgot to sign that last one.


  8. Dude, this is one of the coolest posts ever!!! My parents crawlspace is the attic & it's filled with all kinds of little trinkets like the ones you uncovered. I'm linking my Mom to this post so that we can do something like this next time I come home.

    As for your junk, that must have been a typo because I saw a bunch of cool things listed.

    That high school pic was hilarious, you look exactly the same.

  9. My son Keith (dadddys fish bowl)sent me a link to your post and suggested I read it. I was very happy I did! Wow! This is a wonderful story, and I think we should do the same thing when he come back home. I have almost everything he ever drew, almost all of his school work from pre-k through college years and most of his toys from birth on in my attic! I just couldn't part with them, but after reading your post, we need to go up there and go through his things. It will probably take us his whole trip home, but it will be worth it to me. Thanks for your post....It has inspired me.

  10. Hey "Keith's Dad" - I can't wait to see Keith's post!!

    Be sure to dig up some good (embarrassing) stuff!!


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