The Back Caverns

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Layout of Area Excavated during 2001 as Shown on the Hondius Broadside Map

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The 2001 excavation revealed the image of a clay and stone parrot wearing a crown


In 2002, excavation of a new hole began just a few feet away from where the 2001 entrance had collapsed. Digging continued downward for 36 feet until it reached the water table. While tunneling horizontally at the 36 ft. level, a large clay sculpture of a blue stork appeared and adjacent to it was a large blue stone. I photographed the stork and went to remove the stone. As soon as it was dislodged, water began to flow from a small hole in the wall where the stone had been! The hole grew larger and larger as water spouted from it and eventually the tunnel was completely inundated. Several submersible pumps were necessary to draw the water from the cavern. After the flooded tunnel was pumped-out, re-entry was possible. The wall that was spouting the water had completely disappeared and in its place was a large, room-like cavern with a neatly stacked pile of stones at the far side. However, without warning, huge chunks of the cavern ceiling would break loose and crash to the floor. A death-defying close call with a huge piece of the ceiling motivated me to find a safer way to recover the pile of stones! Back to top

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The Blue Stork



The Hidden Treasure Room 36 ft. Below the Surface


A Safer Way


The safest way was to hire a well driller who could drill a hole 3 ft. in diameter and 20 feet deep. Then a plastic sewer pipe of the same size was lowered into the hole. A ladder was constructed because standard commercial ladders were not long enough. An electric winch was installed to haul the large stones and buckets. Excavation continued out from the sewer pipe and down to the 36ft. level again. After working virtually everyday for 9 months with little rest, a large stone was removed from the deepest part of the cavern on 12/12/2002. Much to my amazement...there it was...the hollow crawl space I had been trying to locate for two years. I looked inside and from the opening could see that this was the beginning/end of a square-shaped crawl-space just big enough for one man. I climbed up the ladder and back to the surface to share the exciting news. However, the thrill of victory did not last for long. The very same evening, a powerful winter storm blew in dumping eight inches of rain and by sunrise the entire excavation was flooded. Re-entry was impossible! Back to top

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Preparing for the Driller


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The Driller


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Drill that Hole


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The 20ft. Sewer Pipe


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The View Upward from Outside of the Bottom of the 20ft. Sewer Pipe Back to top


From the 36 ft. Level: 100 lb. Blue/Green stone (above) and a Gold-Plated Rock (below)

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The Excavation was Destroyed by Heavy Rain in December 2002