Archaeologists dig up artifacts behind the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs

EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. -- A few months ago the first bottle was discovered behind the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs.

Tour manager Keith Scales noticed the resemblance to a poster.

"So I see that every day when I'm doing the tours, so as soon as I saw the bottle I recognized that from that," Scales said.

The Crescent Hotel is known for its ghost tours and its history.

"One of the people who is very prominent is Norman Baker, the guy who ran this place as a faux cancer hospital for a couple of years," Scales said.

The tour manager said in the 1930s, Baker operated the hospital and claimed he had miraculous cures for the disease.

"Some of them are medicine bottles, and some have some kind of specimens in them," he said.

"I think he was using these as props," said Jared Pebworth, a UAF station assistant archaeologist.

In the 1960s, the bottles were dumped, but the current hotel managers didn't know that meant right behind the hotel.

"They brought in the police, and the crime lab and HAZMAT, and we took soil samples and all that before we could actually conduct the dig," Scales said.

"As we get down and get to the bottom of the pit itself, we can tell it was dug out into a square basin which gives us information it was a little more premeditated," Pebworth said.

The Arkansas Archaeological Survey, which is part of the University of Arkansas system, started the dig last week.

"We realized that a lot of the literature mentioned formulas that had colors like that so we were able to make ties to the Norman Baker's use of the facility as a hospital," said Michael Evans, a UAF station assistant archaeologist. "

And they've found other interesting tools and artifacts, like a reel of film and a bone saw.

In the future the hotel will also make the site part of their tour.

"After we have secured the history, we'll have a path that will bring people out to the site and they'll be able to see it," said Jack Moyer, the general manager for the Crescent Hotel.

The plan is to package the bottles and send some of the samples to the state crime lab.