‘Amateur relic hunters’ unearth hidden history

Many people have taken up new hobbies during the coronavirus pandemic, but how about looking for lost treasure? Two Maryland men who call themselves amateur relic hunters are using old maps and good instinct to do just that.In backcountry parts of southern Anne Arundel County, centuries of Maryland history lay uncovered beneath dead leaves and soil. That is also where you’ll find Evan Woodard, a cybersecurity director by day and a self-proclaimed amateur relic hunter on his days off. “From a hobby to now, hopefully, one day, maybe to becoming a profession,” Woodard said. Since the beginning of 2020, Woodard and his partner, Matt Palmer, have scavenged forests, old factories and even former plantations. They’ve found a lot, such as bottles like an 1870s flask from Fells Point. That find offered a good first clue that they were on the right track. “We started walking through old creeks and old neighborhoods and finding pre-pro glass, pre-pro beer bottles and just doing research on that. And then, from there, I started doing more research on the bottles themselves and telling the stories,” Woodard said.Woodard hopes to find and tell even more of those stories from a dig on a tobacco farm turned ranch. “I can’t wait to watch the process and see what he comes up with,” said property owner Michelle Guillermin.Guillermin had been waiting for the dig for weeks. In just a few minutes of shoveling, they unearthed exactly what they were looking for. “This usually is the style you would see in medicine bottles, turn-of-the-century into the early 1920s. And, often for these, you see these as either medicine bottles or really old McCormick spice bottles,” Palmer said.Whatever else they find, the relic hunters vet for historical significance. Some artifacts they return to the property owner or keep for themselves. Others are sold and the profits are donated to museums. “It’s great to get out there and discover things and, you know, and really feel like you’re, you know, actually doing real discovery,” Palmer said.Both hunters pledge to keep on digging on a quest to find more relics from Maryland’s past. The relic hunters also do house calls helping, homeowners explore their own back yards.

Many people have taken up new hobbies during the coronavirus pandemic, but how about looking for lost treasure?

Two Maryland men who call themselves amateur relic hunters are using old maps and good instinct to do just that.

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In backcountry parts of southern Anne Arundel County, centuries of Maryland history lay uncovered beneath dead leaves and soil. That is also where you’ll find Evan Woodard, a cybersecurity director by day and a self-proclaimed amateur relic hunter on his days off.

“From a hobby to now, hopefully, one day, maybe to becoming a profession,” Woodard said.

Since the beginning of 2020, Woodard and his partner, Matt Palmer, have scavenged forests, old factories and even former plantations. They’ve found a lot, such as bottles like an 1870s flask from Fells Point. That find offered a good first clue that they were on the right track.

“We started walking through old creeks and old neighborhoods and finding pre-pro glass, pre-pro beer bottles and just doing research on that. And then, from there, I started doing more research on the bottles themselves and telling the stories,” Woodard said.

Woodard hopes to find and tell even more of those stories from a dig on a tobacco farm turned ranch.

“I can’t wait to watch the process and see what he comes up with,” said property owner Michelle Guillermin.

Guillermin had been waiting for the dig for weeks. In just a few minutes of shoveling, they unearthed exactly what they were looking for.

“This usually is the style you would see in medicine bottles, turn-of-the-century into the early 1920s. And, often for these, you see these as either medicine bottles or really old McCormick spice bottles,” Palmer said.

Whatever else they find, the relic hunters vet for historical significance. Some artifacts they return to the property owner or keep for themselves. Others are sold and the profits are donated to museums.

“It’s great to get out there and discover things and, you know, and really feel like you’re, you know, actually doing real discovery,” Palmer said.

Both hunters pledge to keep on digging on a quest to find more relics from Maryland’s past.

The relic hunters also do house calls helping, homeowners explore their own back yards.

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