This is the time of year when the earth gives up its secrets.
After the heaving from freeze-thaw cycles, bits of debris, or bits of history, depending on your point of view, can easily be taken from the soft soil.
We have found so many artifacts, some broken, some whole, peeking out of the ground in the springtime. Last spring, while sowing the front horse pasture with seed (how's that for a somewhat romantic image) my husband found this old half-penny coin from 1844, and a child's play ironstone teacup.
We also have a collection of arrowheads, most of them fairly intact. We label them with the date, location where they were found, and the name of the finder.
Here's a bottle with only a little chip, with its oxidized patina. It's quite small, and must have been a medicine bottle.
I have a jar on the windowsill where my kitchen desk sits, filled with bits of broken china and glass. Those early house-dwellers must have broken a lot of dishes (or I suppose their servants did). The best time to go looking for this treasure is in the springtime, after a rain. It helps if you adopt a contemplative stance, with your hands clasped behind your back, and your head down, eyes scanning the ground. Walk slowly. You never know what you'll find.