CHICAGO (CBS) — An Aurora man communes with the lives of the long departed by taking a shovel to the remains of their outhouses.

42 year old Mike Renaud is not a classically trained archaeologist, but he’ll be addressing the Aurora Historical Society February 17 on his self-developed area of expertise of digging through long closed privies, or outhouses, where he says says everything went, absolutely everything.

“If a family back in the day would be eating, or something like that, a dish breaks or they are using some type of bottle for anything, food bottles medicine bottles, anything that after you used you would throw it out because they didn’t really have dumps and stuff back then but they had an outhouse and that is basically where everything went into,” said Renaud.

Renaud has found valuable artifacts in antique outhouses, rare bottles, ceramic figurines, but he seems more interested in learning how people lived, what they ate, what medicines they took, what sort of liquor bottles they discarded.

Watch & Listen LIVE