Coffeehouse Archaeology in England

Artifacts from the Claphams Coffeehouse assemblage. Source: Cressford et al. 2017: Figure 8.

Before England fell in love with tea, there was coffee. Beginning in the 1600s, coffeehouses spread through England. Historians think of them as the more polite, refined counterpoint to taverns and alehouses, a place where the customers – mostly male – could drink and discuss and debate the news of the day.

It’s a bit surprising that almost no coffeehouses have been explored archaeologically, but Craig Cessford and colleagues now describe artifacts, tightly dated to between 1770 and 1780, from a small brick cellar associated with Clapham’s Coffeehouse in Cambridge, England.
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The Field Trip that Founded, and Filled, the Oriental Institute

Oriental Institute Building

In 1919, James Henry Breasted, archaeologist and founder of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, embarked on a year-long trip through the Middle East. His goal was to identify research opportunities throughout the area, and to obtain artifacts to bring back to Chicago. The story (from a 2010 exhibition at the Institute) was told in Archaeology Magazine.

Philly Archaeologists’ Map Hopes to Warn Developers Away From Unmarked Cemeteries

Just one example of the many historic graves uncovered in Philadelphia. Source:

Nonexistent or weakly enforced laws in Philadelphia have led to historic graves being destroyed by construction. Hastily organized rescue excavations have salvaged some of these human remains, but others have been destroyed, or are threatened by future development projects. In an attempt to reduce the damage to historic cemeteries, archaeologists in the city have produced an interactive map showing where unmarked gravesites and burial yards were located. They caution, however, that the map does not show all historic burial locations, and that even if a historic cemetery is documented to have been relocated at some time in the past, many human remains are likely still present in the original location. Read more about the issues that led to the creation of this map at the Philadelphia Archaeological Forum.

How to Make Battleship Curves

…the old-school way, with paperclips. David Hurst Thomas illustrates:

“Seriation diagrams were once constructed by hand (literally). Frequencies of temporal types were converted to percentages, then drawn on individual strips, which were then moved up or down until they approximated a series of battleship-shaped curves (Ford, 1962: fig.8). This tedious and subjective procedure has since been replaced by computer programs.”

David Hurst Thomas 2008, Addressing Variability in the Pooled Radiocarbon Record of St. Catherines Island, in Native American Landscapes of St. Catherines Island, Georgia. II The Data. Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History No. 88. Figure 16.9.

previously posted on Adequacy.

Tucson’s Presidio and Historical Archaeology in the 1920s

By digging at the site of the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson in 1929, Engineer Donald Page gets the nod as Tucson, Arizona’s first historical archaeologist. That was his only excavation, and less than ten years later, his life took a tragic/stupid turn (alcohol and a handgun were involved). See Donald Page: Tucson’s Tragic First Historical Archaeologist by Homer Thiel.

Scholarship for New York Archaeology Undergraduates

For New York state undergraduates interested in a career in archaeology,  the Daniel H. Weiskotten Scholarship Fund 2018 awards $750 and a 1 year membership in the New York State Archaeological Association

To apply for this award, a student must be a New York state resident enrolled in an accredited New York state college or university undergraduate anthropology or history program. The student applicant must have completed a minimum of 30 credit hours; be majoring in anthropology or history; and be intending to pursue a career in archaeology (prehistoric, historic, military, industrial, underwater archaeology or museology); and have a financial need.

Details are at New York State Archaeology

The Scholarship is administered by the William M. Beauchamp Chapter of the New York State Archaeological Association