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A Brief Moment in History
by Catherine Warnock

Ever wondered what historical events might have happened right here, in this very spot, hundreds of years ago? Or who might have lived and died here?

Perhaps it was the recent archeological dig at the Kelly ‘siege site’ in historical Glenrowan that set my curiosity buzzing. Or maybe it’s because I am a regular devotee of the wonderful Time Team program on ABC TV. (For those of you not familiar with this gem, it is a series in which a motley bunch of archeologists, anthropologists and other dirt-scraping-ologists come together to conduct super-quick archeological ‘digs’ all over Britain).

In any case, whatever has triggered it off, I have become rather enamoured with the idea of uncovering something of historical significance under the ground. I know it’s not terribly likely that I would find evidence of European settlement dating back more than a couple of hundred years here in Australia, but any artifacts pointing to human existence would suffice; I’m not a fussy little digger.

And so it was with this in mind that I was all atremble last weekend upon the surprise unearthing of an interesting looking ‘find’ in my own back yard. While digging a small trench alongside the driveway, my shovel clunked against something rather solid. I gently pushed it upwards until it finally released and plopped into the garden.

At first glance I thought it was just a rock but closer inspection revealed it was, in fact, an old piece of pottery. An early settlers’ cooking vessel? I mused. Or perhaps an earthenware jug from a convict settlement?

Rinsing my acquisition under the tap, my mind rushed forward to my glorious subsequent unearthing of the entire jug followed by a sacred burial site, a Roman aqueduct, a Paleolithic flint tool and the footings of a medieval castle.

I had visions of Time Team descending on my home; ‘geophys’ scouring every inch of my land with their mysterious devices; carbon daters dating; historians pouring over ‘tithe maps’ and scruffy looking gents in khaki jumpers with leather elbows arguing about the possible meaning of charcoal deposits under my clothesline. (I wouldn’t, of course, have the heart to tell them it was just the remains of a little misadventure with the BBQ).

I checked my fertile imagination and told myself my find was probably nothing to get too excited about. Although, even if it didn’t date quite as far back to warrant the Time Team's attention, I was at least sure I had found something of historical and practical virtue belonging to the old lady who lived in the house before us (i.e. probably a casserole dish). And even this gave me a buzz because the lady was pretty old which probably dated the casserole dish as circa 1966 or thereabouts — a veritable antique by today’s standards.

Anyway, I waited anxiously for the spouse to come home so I could show off my find. To my dismay he snorted when he saw it.

“It’s a bit of sewerage pipe,” he announced, matter-of-factly dropping my treasure into the wheelie bin. “Circa … Who Cares.”

And with that, my moment of archeological glory — much like my less-than-fascinating find —went……..well……..down the loo!