Digging or forking the ground in our Spittal garden turns up a seemingly endless stream of bits of concrete, brick, slate and stone. Rusty nails, lengths of bailer twine, bones and broken crockery add to the variety. Occasionally there’s unexpected treasure too.


Unlike most of the miscellaneous odds and ends we dig up, these marbles must have been lost not thrown away. We’re cultivating ground that has been under rough grass for at least twenty years, some parts much longer than that. Some of the marbles are rough and worn, others look good as new. Who were the children who lost these treasures? We’ll never know.


The two clay marbles warm up quickly in your hand and feel surprisingly light.


The plain, green tinted marbles, rough and pitted like sea glass, probably come from the necks of old lemonade bottles. The opaque, swirled marbles are smooth and almost flawless. Are they harder and more resistant to wear than the others or were they lost more recently? The small, dark blue one isn’t a marble at all, it’s a bead from a broken necklace.

Sixteen small spheres, ordinary but unique. Each with its own, unknown story

Click on any photo for a closer view.