People often ask what is the ‘coolest’ thing I’ve ever found. I certainly have my favorite artifacts and places, things that completely blew my mind to encounter. However, when thinking about my day-to-day job and the surveys I conduct, sometimes the coolest things I’ve ever found are the simple remains of day-to-day life. Now, I don’t expect everyone to get excited about tin cans or an odd flake here and there but there’s something about days and/or months on end of surveys where nothing comes up and then—there it is! That artifact showing that someone was once there. These days I mostly encounter historic artifacts and features in the American west. That means a lot of homesteads, ranches, mining towns, mines, shacks, and dumps. I’ve come across tin cans dating from the early 1900s (yay, botulism), amethyst and cobalt colored glass, tubes of antiperspirant cream from the 1930s, and entire homesteads with log cabins, barns, and outhouses. More often than not, the artifacts and structures are all that are left of whoever lived at that location, the story of who lived there and why are long gone.