“Indiana, we are simply passing through history. This is history.” ~ spoken by Belloq in the Raiders of the Lost Ark.¹
As part of the Naperville Streetscape Improvements Project, Civiltech Resident Engineer, Art Politowicz, P.G., was working with the contractor to excavate at a location needed to replace storm sewer. The existing clay pipe, estimated to be about 100-years old was wrapped in a brick structure. That brick housing was then within another old limestone structure. The limestone indicated that it could have been part of an old bridge that the existing watermain had been installed through.
During the excavation, Art noticed what he thought was a teapot down in the dirt. He climbed down into the hole to pull it out. With the object longer than first realized, Art used a shovel and finally extricated an elongated vessel. With some research, it was discovered that the object was a mineral water jug most likely made in the 1800s in Germany, which would align with the approximate age of the limestone structure adjacent to it. A number engraved on the vessel designates the spring from which it originated.
The City of Naperville and Naperville Settlement are working together to determine the appropriate new home for the vintage vessel. With more excavation to come in the Naperville Streetscape project, we are excited to see what other buried treasures might be discovered.
As for Art, this isn’t his first discovery. He’s come across many vintage objects in excavations over the years. One particularly interesting discovery was found while Art was inspecting a roadway ramp construction project in the City of Chicago near McCormick Place. The excavation offered up objects dating back to the Chicago Fire. Art speculated that during clean up and reconstruction after the fire, debris was simply leveled, buried, and built over.
¹Spielburg, S. (Director). (1981). Raiders of the Lost Ark. Lucasfilm Ltd.