Archaeologist: Mystery Underground Room Is An Old Water Cistern

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A Colorado Springs man finds what appears to be a hidden underground room in his back-yard and it’s filled with all kinds of old artifacts. A UCCS archaeologist tells 11 News the hidden room is actually an old water cistern.

It's believed the old underground water tank was abandoned more than 100 years ago, around the year 1900, when the house that is now on the property was built.

"To an archaeologist this is a treasure," said Roche Lindsey, a Professor of Anthropology at UCCS.

A treasure likely buried in Chris Harper's back yard around the turn of the century.

“Old whiskey bottles, shoes of all kinds, just really unique artifacts,” Harper said.

Artifacts that Lindsey says were likely dumped when the cistern was abandoned. "Gets filled up with garbage for awhile before it's topped off and abandoned." He says the bottles found inside, give the best clues.

"There was a syrup bottle in the collection, date was 1884," Lindsey said.

Other pop bottles found were made between 1899 and 1902. “Right now we only have a time frame of when it was abandoned, we don't know the time range for when it was used," he said.

Which is why they will continue digging and sifting until they reach the bottom of the cistern. And each artifact found can offer up a lot of information.

"It can be an incredible wealth of information, commodity flow during that time period that's not documented in historic record," Lindsey said.

So in this case it seems the saying holds true, one's man's trash is another man's treasure.

The house attached to the backyard where the cistern was found is up for sale so they want to get it all cleaned up. Still no word though on what they plan to do with all the artifacts.