Her image had been buried near a Civil War battlefield for 100 years. Then I found her.

Stiles/Akin

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JUHW7BSKSFD3HFDIBCKGHLIOO4.jpg


A metallic negative of a well-dressed 19th-century woman, left, was excavated by the author while relic hunting in Centreville, Va., in 1992. It was recently converted to a positive image, right. (Kevin Ambrose)
By Kevin Ambrose
March 17 at 8:00 AM

My metal detector gave a loud signal as I swept its coil over the freshly cleared earth. I had just dug up several Civil War bullets a few feet away, but this signal sounded different. It was louder, and registered much higher on my detector’s meter than the bullets. Perhaps, I thought, I was about to dig up a Civil War belt buckle? Finding a Civil War buckle is always at the top of my wish list when relic hunting.

The year was 1992 and I was scanning a construction site in Centreville, which was a busy crossroads during the Civil War. The Battles of First and Second Bull Run, and the Battle of Blackburn’s Ford were fought nearby.

I was part of small group of “diggers” that chased the bulldozers around Northern Virginia, trying to salvage Civil War artifacts at construction sites before the topsoil was stripped away and the relics lost forever, buried under roads and housing developments. During the 1990s, the woods and fields around Centreville were getting developed at an extremely fast rate.

I knelt down and began to slowly dig a hole where my metal detector had produced the signal, taking care not to damage the artifact. At about five inches below the surface of the ground, I saw a thin, rectangular plate appear. My heart started beating faster. It was about the same size and shape as a Civil War buckle. Could it be?

Read the entire article at
https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/03/16/her-image-had-been-buried-near-civil-war-battlefield-years-then-i-found-her/?fbclid=IwAR05dCzNMf2K5vQJUD7OdtxiinUwgD0GbhSOmO7Wu6uBSKz1_Nqn5T80z2c&utm_term=.3614e38c6949
 

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ucvrelics

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GREAT Find and story. I have found the gold gilt frames in camp but never the image.
 

James N.

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Ambrotype Display.JPG


I had a similar experience with this lady though she was never in the ground! A friend bought the image on ebay just to get the case in order to use it on a modern ambrotype of himself and gave me the glass plate which was dim and dirty enough as to be unidentifiable and thought damaged - the reason he'd chosen it in the first place. The results here are what she looked like following a CAREFUL cleaning - NOT of the side with the emulsion! - and restoring a proper mat, backing, and preserver. (This was "photographed" using my printer's scanner.)

Ambrotype positive.JPG



These are the varying results of applying color filters and using a photo editing program that came with the printer. Note that the one above is a reverse image of the original glass negative which has made her pink-tinted cheeks blue!
Ambrotype w backing & Photo Fix.jpg


As can be seen, she came out quite respectably, enough so that at one time I used her to create the display at the top of this post. The one below uses the black-and-white filter in the computer program.
Ambrotype w backing B&W.jpg
 
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Tom Hughes

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I think what saved this photograph from time and the elements was that fact that it was a halftone photo plate. Fantastic save! Thanks for sharing.
 

byron ed

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I think what saved this photograph from time and the elements was that fact that it was a halftone photo plate. Fantastic save! Thanks for sharing.
Whoah there. The original was not a halftone plate. That wasn't a thing yet, so was not a factor in saving the original from time and the elements.

The images in the OP are halftones only because they are pictures taken of a published page, not the physical item itself. In other words the images in the OP are snapshots of a published page, of an article authored by the digger himself.
 
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Tom Hughes

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Whoah there. The original was not a halftone plate. That wasn't a thing yet, so was not a factor in saving the original from time and the elements.

The images in the OP are halftones only because they are pictures taken of a published page, not the physical item itself. In other words the images in the OP are snapshots of a published page, of an article authored by the digger himself.
My bad. I misunderstood.
 


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