Daily Dose Pick: Past Objects

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A sampling of vintage urban artifacts, Past Objects provides a glimpse into the past through historical relics unearthed from the landfills, construction sites, privies, and cisterns of New York City.

Whether it’s antique liquor bottles and opium vials or elaborately carved pipes, porcelain dolls, and obsolete tools, amateur archeologist Scott Jordan has been digging for the past since the 1960s. Featuring photography by J.K. Putnam, Jordan’s book is a window into the daily life of early American city-dwellers, as well as a guidebook for modern metropolitan diggers in search of buried treasure.

Check out Scott Jordan’s website, visit him at the Columbus Circle Holiday Marketin New York, and buy a copy of the book

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Click through below for a selection of images from Past Objects.

“Porcelain doll heads (circa 1840s-70s) from privies and cistern wells in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island,” from Past Objects by Scott Jordan, with photography by J.K. Putnam (Mark Batty Publisher, 2010)

“Carved ivory walking-stick handle (circa 1840s-50s) found in a privy well on Pacific Street, Brooklyn,” from Past Objects by Scott Jordan, with photography by J.K. Putnam (Mark Batty Publisher, 2010)

“L.Q.C. Wishart’s Pine Tree Tar Cordial Phila, patent 1859 (circa 1860s, smooth base) found in a privy on Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn,” from Past Objects by Scott Jordan, with photography by J.K. Putnam (Mark Batty Publisher, 2010)

“The Young Sergeant ABC plate (circa 1850s). This lovely plate was to help children learn their ABCs while they ate. Found in a very large cistern on a construction site at State Street, Brooklyn,” from Past Objects by Scott Jordan, with photography by J.K. Putnam (Mark Batty Publisher, 2010)

“Door stop (circa 1890s) found in Queens landfill,” from Past Objects by Scott Jordan, with photography by J.K. Putnam (Mark Batty Publisher, 2010)

“Automobile head lamp (circa 1900) from a Queens landfill,” from Past Objects by Scott Jordan, with photography by J.K. Putnam (Mark Batty Publisher, 2010)

“Porcelain dolls found in landfills, cisterns, and privies in the Bronx, Brooklym and Queens; back row (circa 1920s-30s), front row (circa 1860s-80s),” from Past Objects by Scott Jordan, with photography by J.K. Putnam (Mark Batty Publisher, 2010)

“Lead weight, bottle, buttons, and buckle found on night of December 19, 1984,” from Past Objects by Scott Jordan, with photography by J.K. Putnam (Mark Batty Publisher, 2010)

“Hardwood pulley wheels (circa 1760s-80s) from sailing ships docked in lower Manhattan, found at Old Slip and Front Street, Manhattan,” from Past Objects by Scott Jordan, with photography by J.K. Putnam (Mark Batty Publisher, 2010)

“Shovel (circa 1780s) found in a landfill at Old Slip and Front Street, Manhattan,” from Past Objects by Scott Jordan, with photography by J.K. Putnam (Mark Batty Publisher, 2010)